Necktie JellymanThursday, November 12, 2020
The year is 1983. The birth of a first child — a daughter — changed the course of life for St James resident Garth Sinclair. A decision to move from being a bus conductor to selling sugarcane, then coconuts, in order to provide more substantially for his new family.
“Well, mi first daughter born 1983 and I was doing conducting on a bus and that wasn't working out so well, so I had planted some cane and I decided to walk with some, go by Fort Street and Gloucester Ave. I walked with it on my head, then I got a kerosene tin and started selling ice-cold jelly on Barnett Street,” Sinclair explained.
A chance meeting with a little girl on Barnett Street led to an 'aha' moment that would eventually set Sinclair apart from his peers and to the birth of the 'Necktie Jellyman'.
“I was coming from bush and I would just start work, not thinking about how I looked. A little girl saw me one day and say 'Jellyman how you look so dirty and a sell jelly?'” Talk about out of the mouth of a babe! Her words of consternation hit home. Sinclair's wardrobe changed the next day to a clean T-shirt and tie, and later to suits. “I became a lot more approachable... and people started to call me Necktie Jellyman. The response was really good as persons sought me out,” Sinclair added.
More positives like an improved roster of clients followed as a result of his change of attire. His clients now included business executives, and tour operators started to bring tourists to his location. He eventually diversified his offerings and added theatrics to his sales tactics.
“I hear about a man from town name Ragga Ragga; hear him start chop jelly blindfolded, and on his head. So, I start practise every day chopping jelly blindfolded. My customers love it and people from America, England, Germany, tourists from all over come and take photos and to see the Necktie Jellyman. Then I started to do coconut water with okra and tuna (Barbary fig) and that become a big hit with customers, too, and the latest product I have is called the War Gun. That has in raw moon, medina, donkey weed, trang back, sarsaparilla, leaf of life and guinea hen,” Sinclair added further.
Sinclair is now the proud father of nine children; numbering among them is a police officer, a soldier, hairdresser and a flight attendant based in the Cayman Islands.
“My life has had its ups and downs, but I have no regrets. The sky is the limit... and this has sent my kids to school. I have also built my house out of it,” Sinclair concluded.
— Text & Photos: Aceion Cunningham
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