Former brewer is latest centenarian

James Benjamin celebrates his 100th birthday today and can still afford to brag about the daily exercise he is able to do and the fact that he remains an active member of the St Thomas Church.

A lucid Benjamin sat down with Stabroek News yesterday and said that he owes his good health to the walks he takes every day on the seawalls with his grandson.

James Benjamin

Benjamin said that this habit developed over the years after being employed with the Banks Brewery Company, now known as Banks DIH Limited, for some 69 years in varying capacities.

“I worked in the factory itself brewing beer. I was the foreman for sanitation… I used to be in charge of all the weeding, gardening and everything. I held the keys for all that equipment… when the band men needed the tools, they came to me,” Benjamin said.

He noted that he left the company a security officer based at the Kitty Qik Serv outlet and was forced into retirement by his wife. “My wife said you is 81, is time you stop work but they [employers] said no and asked me to stay on another 2 years. That 2 years turned into 7 years,” Benjamin said as he laughed.

He said that he had gotten married in 1968 and remained married to the same woman until she died 11 years ago. He said although he never had children of his own, he has 15 stepchildren who gave him 14 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

It is with this family that he is celebrating the milestone he has arrived at.

“It will be a simple day. We’re going to have a get-together outside and I believe a headman from the brewery will be coming to visit me and the people from my church are coming to give me communion,” Benjamin said.

He admitted that he eats very little but is looking forward to the food on his birthday.

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