A story of poverty and rising above the negatives to become one of the most successful businessmen in Grenada was told in the 106 page book – the life of Cecil Kenrick (CK) Sylvester “From Humble Beginnings.”
The book was officially launched at the Coyaba Beach Resort last Thursday in the presence of Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, a long time friend of the family, as well as the son and daughter of the retired city businessman.
The book tells the true life story of “CK from the time he was a child who was abandoned by his father while he was still in the womb and how as a consequence he was raised in abject poverty by a single and unsupported mother.
According to the book, CK’s mother’s only means of providing for her family and young one was done trough hard work and labouring in the field.
CK’s mother envisaged a better future for her child, hoping that he would break the generational cycle of poverty that existed within the community to which he was born in those days.
His hard upbringing did not prevent him from rising to the top in business as he is known to be the brainchild behind Independence Agencies located on the Maurice Bishop Highway in Grand Anse.
Written by Jean Bovell, the narrative begins with CK’s intriguing journey from birth onto childhood and adulthood and into his advancing years.
The daughter of the retired businessman, Yolande Sylvester-Radix told the book launch that the journey began 3 years ago as she saw the importance of documenting her father’s life and sought to get the information from him.
“This has been a dream of mine for quite a long time…I thought that my father had such a dressy, colourful life. He did well in his business and I thought maybe it should be catalogued…some information should be put down so maybe a few people who read it might learn a little bit from it”, she said.
“About three years ago, I said, “daddy, we need to write a book on you”. I brought him a writing pad and a pen and I said write everything you could remember about your life while you were young growing up, going to school and he started and when he was finished and he gave it to me, I was quite surprised (at) the amount of information that was in it…I learnt a few things that I didn’t even know…”, she added.
According to CK’s daughter, the book turned out to be an eye opener for her as it provided more information than what she had expected.
Like his own sister, CEO of Independence Agencies and son of CK Sylvester, Ken Sylvester said he too was amazed over the amount of information he found out in the book about his own father.
“I knew my father was from St. David’s but I didn’t know from which part and I found out in the book more about where he came from, where he grew up, the type of accommodation he had, the type of hardship he had, the stresses and going to school without transportation, without shoes, the friends that he had growing up with.
“I guarantee you, it is a small book but it is a good read…I have learnt so much from him in so many ways that I think that I cannot fit in his shoes but it has made me the type of person I am today and as successful as he was in business.
“I have taken over the range from him and I am trying to be as successful as he was and hopefully when I get to this stage in my life, I’m hoping people would say he did a good job like his father.
The book launch was also addressed by Son-in-Law of CK Sylvester, Dr. Peter Radix who confessed that there are a number of lessons to be learnt from the book, especially that of a mother’s dream for her child to be more than what he was born into.
“There are (a) few examples to be drawn from CKs life story. I think a lot more credit needs to be paid to CKs mother because in recent times and maybe before recent times, Social Scientists and