At first blush the story of Clarence Levi Flowers is one of rags to riches.
But Mr. Flowers’ life was so much more than that.
And the Cayman Islands owes much to this man who arrived on Cayman’s shores in 1931 at the tender age of 13 to be a yard boy for the Merren family.
So it’s only fitting that Mr. Flowers was recognized posthumously in the Legislative Assembly last week.
Mr. Flowers held the philosophy that to be successful you have to foresee a need and supply that need before anyone else and you have to be the best.
His empire started after he returned from World War II after serving in the Trinidad Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His holdings included a small boat and a truck.
He used the boat to fetch passengers and their cargo from the seaplanes that landed on the water to get them to the shore. Once on the shore, he used his truck to transport goods and cargo to the far reaches of the island and take people to George Town.
A natural progression with the truck was the addition of a water tank, which Mr. Flowers used to transport water to people’s cisterns. That was the birth of Flowers Water Transport Company in 1946.
The block company grew out of his desire to build a solid home for his new bride. He had a machine that would spit out one concrete block at a time, 90 blocks in a day.
Soon the idea of block houses caught on and we daresay that just about everyone who lives and works in Cayman has been touched in some way by Mr. Flowers and his empire.
From his beginnings at birth in 1918 in St. Catherine, Jamaica, to his death last month on 29 April, Mr. Flowers remained a humble man and a true friend to all in the Cayman Islands.
We thank God that he sent a young Jamaican migrant worker to our shores 76 years ago. We shudder to think what condition this country would be in without Mr. Flowers.
His contributions to this country go far beyond blocks and water. Mr. Flowers was a true visionary, an honest man and an inspiration to all who met him.
He will truly be missed.