Jalal Bacchus claims he was the first man to sell coconuts around the Queen's Park Savannah. He sold under the samaan tree near Stollmeyer's Castle. In those days, he says, there was no highway and, living in Curepe, he rode his horse-cart into Port of Spain.
He has lived in a tapia house with a needle grass roof; he has seen the advent in Trinidad of planes, trains and automobiles. Before now, however, Bacchus says that he has had very little reason to own or use most of these modern conveniences. Last Wednesday, when receiving two tickets courtesy Air Caribbean to Tobago, Bacchus explained that he had never been on an aeroplane quire simply because "I had no cause".
Bacchus's hundredth birthday was a big enough cause though for members of the Curepe Local Village Council, headed by Shah Hosein, to seek the patronage of several companies to enable Bacchus to have the experience of flying and for members of his small community to come out on Sunday morning to celebrate his birthday with him.
Hosein explained at the ticket-giving ceremony that the response was greater from the smaller companies; the village council was able to raise a little over $2,000 towards Sunday's birthday get-together and Singh's Auto Rentals has paid for both Bacchus and Hosein to stay at the Grafton Beach Hotel in Tobago for three days.