St Vincent-born Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid will be among the finalists competing at Sunday’s National Calypso Monarch final at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
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Michael’s steady path to success
With his van loaded with watermelons, oranges, mangoes and plantains on the tray and back seat, Michael Leroy Prescott reaches the Marabella market at 4 am on Saturday mornings.
When sales slow down around 11 am, he takes the market to the people, driving his van of produce all over Trinidad.
Prescott would usually reach back to his Gasparillo home near midnight, watch two good action movies, load up the remaining watermelons on the van, bathe, drink some coffee and head down again to the market on Sunday morning. During the week, he maintains five acres of oranges in Libertville, Rio Claro.
Prescott has also leased another five acres of land from Baksh Plas Industries, a plastic bag manufacturing company owned by former United National Congress government minister, Sadiq Baksh, and will soon start cultivating plantains and bananas on it.
As if all of that was not enough, Prescott, 31, also does sound engineering for bands at weddings and other events. And when he gets it, he does temporary work for other companies.
Prescott said he makes tremendous sacrifice and it has been paying off. He said he is making sacrifices to build a secure future for himself, but there is a more important reason behind his near obsession with work.
“The reason for working in the first place is not to be idle when the day comes,” he told the T&T Guardian.
Prescott said he knows from first-hand experience the dangers of being idle, since he learnt about street life from as early as age 12 from his father, a former Carrera convict, now deceased.
“My mother died when I was six months old and I lived with my granny until 12 when she died,” he said.
Prescott said while he lived with his grandmother in Mc Bean, Couva, he attended the Open Bible Church and was an ardent member. He said he was bright in school, too, and could have passed for Presentation College, but never got a chance to make it to high school.
“Granny died and I was sent to live with my father. We lived in a shack with no electricity and used flambeau and candles for light. My father sold pies.”
Prescott said his father was eventually arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison on drug trafficking charges. But, before he went to prison, his father taught him “street life.”
“He taught me how to ‘make dawn’ which means he used to carry me in a bar and we would wake out the whole night until dawn.”
Prescott said he now uses this art—which involves some quick “shut eye”—to work for him in business. He said he took up drinking during his time with his father and would spend his salary on food, drink and anything he felt like. But he soon began to head down the wrong path and even tasted gramoxone once.
“I was 12 at the time and, yes, I was depressed, but I didn’t want to kill myself. I heard people say you could kill yourself if you drink gramoxone and I was sort of experimenting partly out of idleness.
“I drank one small cork and nothing happened. Then two, then three. Nothing happened.”
Prescott said he never gave up his faith in God throughout it all and, as he grew into a young man, the values instilled in him by other people close to him came back to him.
“I remember my grandmother used to tell me ‘how you make your bed, so you lie.’ I also grew up close to Phillip Abraham (brother of former police central division head, Johnny Abraham) and he taught me discipline.”
Prescott eventually pulled himself together and began to apply certain principles to anything and everything.
“I began to collect scrap iron and sell it to dealers. I would come home with about 50 washing machines and 25 stoves, flatten them down and get about $2,000 in iron.” He landed a permanent job with Baksh Plas Industries and, with Baksh support, began to branch out into planting and selling produce.
Listing the principles he applies to business, and any situation, Prescott said, “First, you assess the situation and then cypher out a plan long in advance,” he said.
“Don’t wait until the same morning to make a plan. When you are doing the thing, it will feel like it already happened. Use discipline and stick to your plan.”
Most importantly, he said he seeks constant guidance from God and moves in faith.
“He is the answer.”