Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎

SEATON, THE ROAD WARRIOR by Rae Samuel

posted 16 Jun 2012 20:43 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 21 Jun 2012 08:14 ]
About 3 Sundays ago, at NWU executive meeting we learned that our evergreen road warrior comrade, Kelvin Seaton was ill. I was the one who had most contact with him since his retirement, so I volunteered to go find him because he was not answering his phones.

When I did locate him in the final stages of a terminal illness, I thought that it took sickness to bring down a frame that had stood up to struggle on all fronts, the harsh economic times that all workers went through and the demands and impacts of road running.

Seaton was literally and figuratively a road warrior, engaged in political, economic and community fronts in Cedros, Claxton Bay, San Juan, Chaguanas, Rio Claro...

Seaton made his mark organising road races, Carnival celebrations, working in the Red Cross, scouts...wherever he ended up he stood out. Seaton never "retired". Yes he drew a pension from T.C.L. but he never sat at home.

The problem was that the discipline he developed in the OWTU, the Committee for Labour Solidarity and NAMOTI never left him. He would often say that the training he acquired in the Blue Shirt army made it difficult for him to return to "civilian life".

Many times he would tell me that he was on the verge of being thrown off all these committees he served on because of the standards he held them to. Their problem was that he was bringing a style and efficiency they lacked and had not seen before. They had to weigh the value he added against the price of throwing him out. None ever did.

Our late comrade, Ram Ramharack would say that it was a good thing Seaton was too short to be a police officer, back when there was a minimum height required. Ram would say that Seaton would have made a "bad police".

His career in road running probably illustrates how committed and capable the comrade was. The Butler 20k started in 1982. The following year, without much, if any competitive experience, he completed what is the most gruelling half marathon in the country. He was probably already fifty.

The Mosquito Creek is STRAIGHT. There is no way to measure progress. In front looks like behind. No corners, no bends to break the visual monotony. It’s a grind, mentally and physically. Otaheite seems endless miles away. Those days we did not have the level of organisation we developed later on. (The story of the Butler Classics must be told one day). When you reached Fyzabad the hills awaited you.

Seaton said that when he reached Fyzabad an incredulous George Weekes hugged him. I think he repeated the following year.

There is a story around that a younger comrade, much younger and an active athlete helped to prepare Seaton for the event, but himself dropped out, providing endless opportunity for heckling for decades to come. Research in the Vanguard, Hold the Fort and Hansard reveal no record of this unlikely story.
KELVIN SEATON"S, (EX BRANCH SECRETARY OF THE TCL BRANCH OF THE OILFIELDS WORKERS TRADE UNION) FUNERAL SERVICE ON
 
SATURDAY JUNE 23RD 2012
GIUDE'S FUNERAL HOME, COUVA
3:00PM
 
BURIAL AT LONGDENVILLE CEMETERY
Comrade Seaton worked with me on a community outreach programme, sponsored by NGC. He was the "old” fellah who would be on time and work tirelessly, to the amazement of the younger coaches who were less than half his age. He earned their total respect.

To Comrade Sister Naomi we owe a lot. There is a mystery re: the timeline of the comrade's illness. There are private circumstances to what transpired. Suffice it to say she was instrumental in seeing that in his last days he was moved from a totally unsuitable environment to the Port of Spain General Hospital. This is in addition to the companionship their shared in their lives.

Comrade Seaton had weakened to the point where he was unable to speak much or for long when I visited him. When I indicated that now we had found him, comrades would be visiting him, he said that all he wanted to see was blue shirts.

Let's see them at his send off.
Comments