Barbados’ newest centenarian, Ismay Weekes, as she was surrounded by family as she celebrated the milestone today.
Originally from Silver Sands, Christ Church, the retired hawker, was overwhelmed as she recounted to Governor General Sir Philip Greaves how she survived two strokes with the support and love of her close-knit family.
The great, great grandmother of 45, great grandmother of 49 and grandmother of 19 celebrated her birthday with the surviving three of her six children, 83-year-old Erma Rivera, 77-year-old Glenfield Bynoe and 71-year-old Elaine Anthony at her granddaughter’s Vauxhall Gardens Christ Church home.
Weekes’ children all described their mother as a tenacious and cheerful woman.
Weekes or Mum, as she was affectionately called by her family, was a hard worker who spent the majority of her lifetime selling vegetable produce. Her mother got her involved in vending from the age of 14 selling snacks in Nelson Street.
The elated and talkative centenarian who expressed her delight in reaching the milestone, attributed her longevity to her faith in God.
“I feel nice because I work hard so I thank God . . . sometimes Satan does keep your heart down but I still hold on and I hold on ‘til this day,” said the longstanding member of the St Christopher Anglican Church.
Weekes said she always advised her great grandchildren to “work and live good”.
“Don’t go about stealing doing nothing that is bad. Serve the Lord first,” she added.
Weekes’ eldest surviving daughter Erma Rivera spoke of her mother being a kind and compassionate woman, who not only put the needs of her family first but also selflessly gave to strangers who needed help.
“She has sown good seeds not only to us as children and to her family but to strangers. People come from all over the place with no money and she let them stay,” said Rivera.
“I think God has blessed her because she earned her blessings. She cares for everybody,” she added.