Usually known for its mangoes, coffee and, unfortunately, bad roads, a new light has been shining on Ness Castle in St Thomas since 2019, and it beams on the young track and field star Oblique Seville.
The district, which is situated between Bethel Gap and Hagley Gap, is small and the people are tight-knit, so it came as no surprise that almost everyone that THE WEEKEND STAR came across claimed that they were relatives of the athlete. His 84-year-old grandmother, Carmen Henderson, sat with a group at a grave-digging when the news team visited her. She smiled brightly and showed off her dance moves as his name is mentioned.
“Mi happy fi Oblique bad. Is a lot of grandchildren mi get, because a 13 children mi have. Mi pray and dance for him when dem show mi him on dem phone. Mi proud a mi grand-pickney so till. Right now mi a go down a him mother yard go hold har hand, and we a go pray for him and di rest a family,” she said.
Lascelles Davis, one of Seville’s grand-uncles, shares in the excitement. His face lit up as he stated that the youngster is a hero for Ness Castle who may bring better fortunes to the community.
“Him have prayers inna him right through. Mi happy fi Oblique so till; and mi know when him get really big, di Government a go fix di road, because all type a international media a go come here, and dem nah go wah dem see say di star athlete come from a district with no road. Right now Oblique make mi take care a myself more, because mi wah deh ’round to see him reach him full potential,” Davis said.
Bubbles, a shopkeeper, said she is elated that the “humble, well-mannered boy” is striving for excellence.
“Mi can’t explain my feeling except to say mi overjoyed that a star come from our quiet little district with the bad road. Oblique walk from before he was one year old and after that, a straight run him run. Him run from up a yard go church with him little short self,” Bubbles said. “Mi say, when Olympics a gwan, mi deh inna taxi and hear a woman a talk about him and a say a Seville dem did want to win the gold medal; and mi feel really good to know say who dem a talk come from my community. Oblique is going to be the one who take care of us and highlight the place, man. Him put we on the map big time,” she added.
Another resident, Sandra Harriot, described Seville as a “good little boy” who “nuh talk or give trouble”.
“Next week when World Championships start, everybody TV a go turn up loud. Next time unno come here a prestige road unno a guh drive pon,” Harriot said, between laughter.
Patricia Augustine told the news team that she taught Seville in basic school and always checked with his mother about his welfare.
“Then mi hear say Oblique deh a Olympics, and den a go World Championships now. What more could I ask for? He is not my child, but yuh have to be happy for other people’s children, and mi very happy,” she said excitedly.