Gilbert Baby: Sylvia Smalling delivered baby Michael by herself

September 12, 2018
Sylvia Smalling
Michael Kenton

In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert replaced Hurricane Charlie as the most dangerous hurricane of the century.

The hurricane blew across Jamaica on September 12. It was also the day that Sylvia Smalling and Ewan Kenton welcomed their third child.

"The Sunday before Gilbert, Ewan suggested that I leave Clark's Town and go to Troy to be with my mother. Mi neva waan guh, but afta a while mi decide fi guh. A gud ting mi did guh," she said with a reflective smile.

As she tells, there was breeze blowing, rain falling, breadfruit flying all about the place, the plum tree fall down, "an' baby pain a lick mi".

Smalling said no nurse could come to her and she couldn't go to the clinic.

"Mi have di baby same place pon di floor. A nuh mi fus pickney suh mi cut di nable tring an spoil it. Di next day di nurse come a fix it up," she said.

They named the baby Michael.

"Him was a craven baby. As yu give him de breast dun an put him dung, him start to bawl," she said.

Michael's constant cravings got him the nickname 'Wanga Gut'. It was good that Ewan was always carrying home fish.

"Not much was in the shops but we had fish prepared in many different ways," she said.

Ewan said Michael was always close to him.

"I fix tyres and when he was not in school, he was always with me. At nights when I am going to sea he was there with me," he said.

According to Ewan, Michael was quite the businessman as a child.

"He was a different person when the boat landed with the fish. Nobody could get any credit. He would describe the dangers associated with fishing and demand his price. After a while when the boat landed I would leave him to sell the fish," Ewan laughed.

He loved to drive and Ewan is not surprised that today, Michael is a truck driver in Florida, driving across the US.

Michael's sister, Dainty, told THE STAR that Michael's son, Ajani, is the same as his father.

"You could call him 'Wanga Gut 2', him craven just like his father," she laughed.

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