DOUGLAS James, popularly known back in the days for making casting nets in Perth Village, Mahaicony, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), celebrated his 103rd birthday on Saturday.
Speaking with the Sunday Chronicle, Onecia Bacchus shared that although she is not biologically related to James, he has always considered her his daughter.
“It started from him looking after my mother, that’s when she was small,” Bacchus said.
She related that her grandmother and James lived near each other in Perth Village and that he would take care of her mother. Bacchus grew up with James always around and so it was easy for her to consider him a father.
Not only did he take care of them, but lots of other people in the village as well. She described him as a lovely person who would never turn away a person in need of help.
Born in 1919, James grew up in Perth with his parents and five siblings and attended the Mahaicony Primary School. He had been making casting nets for over 50 years and was named the “famous casting net maker.”
He also worked in the interior as a gold miner and in more recent years, he became a security guard for rice farmers in Mahaicony, but left the job at age 97.
James lost his parents at age 30 and he is the only living one of his six siblings. His last friend died recently, leaving James as the only survivor of his generation in Mahaicony. James has no biological children and was never married, but Bacchus, his “daughter” as he likes to say, shared that over 40 years ago, there was a woman who migrated to the United States of America with the intention of “sending for him,” but she never did.
Having received treatment for prostate cancer during his 80s and undergoing a below-the-knee amputation in 2021, James continues to live a healthy life with the exception of a hearing defect.
Bacchus said that after he got the amputation, James moved in with her and her sister on the Mahaicony Public Road; prior to that, he lived alone. Of his 103 years of life, James shared that he is most thankful to God for his life and mercy.
To celebrate this milestone, a small gathering was held for James where Bacchus, her sister and their children commemorated this significant day. (Cassandra Khan)