Kelvin Seaton one of the quintessential activists of the Progressive movement was laid to rest on Saturday June 23, 2012.
His funeral service was held at the Guides Funeral Chapel in Couva. Kelvin served as a Branch Secretary of Trinidad Cement Branch at Claxton Bay for almost two decades beginning in the middle 1970’s.
He was also a General Council and Education Council member of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, a political activist of the ULF, CLS and MOTION, a Community Organizer and a devoted Family Man.
It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and the preacher announced the delay in the start of the service to accommodate those delayed by the rain and by work on the Couva interchange that caused a massive back up on the Highway.
To the surprise of the mourners the preacher decided to entertain us to a one-preacher concert of Gospel and Country and Western songs, singing and playing his guitar.
We were quite amazed at the high quality of his songs and guitar playing including his deep and husky voice typical of Country and Western
vocalists. So that for about fifteen minutes before the service of our Comrade there was a short enjoyable concert.
People began to arrive, the majority being comrades who struggled in the trenches with Kelvin Seaton in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Among those i
n attendance were his former comrades at TCL, veterans of the OWTU, CLS AND MOTION, Teddy Belgrave former Chief Education Officer of the OWTU was also there. So too were some members of the OWTU Executive.
Gerry Kangalee, former Education Officer of the OWTU and now National Education and Research
Officer of the National Workers Union (NWU) did the eulogy and David Abdulah, General Secretary of OWTU spoke on behalf of the Union.
Rae Samuel formerly of T&TUTA and now NWU recorded the service. Rae, a close comrade of Seaton, was the liaison with his family during his illness and after his death. Rae and Seaton were among the organizers of the OWTU Labour Day Sporting Events.
At the end of the Service, Naomi McLean, former Branch Officer of CPI and OWTU General Council Member, requested a group picture of all the labour veterans present. Rae obliged. Then members of his family and his comrades carried Kelvin’s body to the hearse.
Sylvan Wilson former Vice President of OWTU led Comrades in singing “Hold The Fort”. We then proceeded to the Longdenville Cemetery for our dear comrade’s burial.
At the cemetery a young lady approached Gerry Kangalee, Stan West formerly of OWTU Petrotrin Branch, Miguel Jimenez, formerly of TIWU and now NWU, and myself and introduced herself as Neema Carrington, the granddaughter of Comrade Seaton.
She thanked Comrade Kangalee for the eulogy and said she knew her grandfather was a Union Man but never knew he was so important and did so many good things for workers. She said that incidentally she had recently been elected as a Shop Steward of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU). So the legacy continues.
Christopher Jackson-Smith a long standing Executive Leader of BIGWU was also at the graveside with his Red Flag. As the last shovel of dirt was placed on the grave, Jackson-Smith with his red flag pointing to Kelvin Seaton’s grave cried out loudly – “ Comrade You Have Made A Great Contribution To The Working Class and We Shall Never Forget You, Ever”
Kelvin Seaton was a Giant Working Class Fighter and Quintessential Peoples’ Activist.