"Agriculture and nature played an important role throughout Errol's life"
Eulogy- Albert Hugh Errol Harris:1938-2020
Albert Hugh Errol Harris, son of Hugh Harris and Beryl Wallace Harris was born in Jamaica on January 5,1938. As a toddler he moved with his parents to Delaford Estate in the North of Dominica close to the Seaman/Harris ancestral home in Vieille Case. The eldest of a family of eight children, Errol enjoyed the freedom of roaming the wild beauty of the land and developed a passionate love for nature. His siblings (especially the younger ones, Francine, Amah and Ray) referred to him as Big Bunda or Tarzan. He was also called Shucks by his third brother Wentworth (deceased). His brothers and sisters reminisce about Errol's tree house at the edge of Demitrie River and his ultra-sharp cutlass which he used to harvest coconuts from towering trees. Errol was a keen huntsman. His brother Gary remembers how his big brother taught him how to shoot flying ramiers with a shotgun-how to judge the continuously changing distance, rate and angle of flight. But Errol also had a caring nature; he fed birds, cared for animals, and looked out for his brothers and sisters who all attest that he was generous with his time and always willing to share what he knew and whatever he had.
The first three boys - Errol, Otto and Joffrey are referred to as JOE' by brother Otto. They were initially home schooled but when this trio entered their teens their intrepid Mother relocated her family to Roseau, and they began attending the Dominica Grammar School(DCS). Thus, Errol, Otto and Joffrey had an extremely close bond. Otto says they "moved together as one." This is further corroborated by Joffrey who refused to be separated from his older brothers, entering high school as an eight-year-old and spending three years in second form! DCS started at second form in those days. Joffrey was finally moved to first form when that class was established but the brothers had managed to stay together in the same school. Family was everything.
Away from Delaford, teenager Errol pursued new interests with the same passion that he had applied to exploring nature. He joined the Boy Scouts and by 16 years became a Queen's Scout achieving the highest scouting youth award. After a lackluster completion of Secondary School in 1958, Errol returned to Delaford to work on the estate with his father but soon found his way back to town to take on paid employment and to help out his mother with the younger siblings as his father remained on the estate.
Errol began work with the Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Instructor riding his BSA motorcycle across Dominica helping farmers with their sick or problematic animals long before there was a trained veterinarian on island. As a young man he also continued to develop new interests especially in motorbikes and photography, developing his photos in the attic of Sutton and getting injured in a few motorbike accidents with the BSA 250 and then the more powerful Triumph 650. He also liked carnival and used to run sensay mas and enjoyed a good rum lime, often with fiends his senior by several years.
As he matured, Errol developed in his career. He went off to study at ECIAF (Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry) where he topped his class. This was truly a triumph for someone who was dyslexic, began conventional school in third form at thirteen years and completed high school without any traditional qualifications. However, Errol performed so well at ECIAF that he was offered entry into the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus and graduated with a first class honours degree in Agriculture. He worked his way through the Ministry of Agriculture from the lowest grade up to Director of Agricultural Extension and Ag. Chief Technical Officer.
Errol was a family man and was fortunate to have two devoted wives. In the earlier part of his life, during his period of study he met and married Olive Brand (now deceased) and they went on to have three daughters, Carla, Stephane and Antonia. They were married for almost 23 years. His second marriage was to Marcella Rose Bain who was his stalwart companion in agriculture, turtle conservation and environment protection. Marcella and Errol were married for 28 years. Prior to his stroke Errol loved to quip that he had been married for fortysomething odd years!
Agriculture and nature played an important role throughout Errol's life. He established a business called Ridge View Farms at Morne Daniel, focusing primarily on poultry (layers and broilers) but also raising bees, sheep, goats, cows and pigs. In retirement he was involved in several NGOs and community based organisations including COMPACT (UNDP Dominica Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation), UNDP GEF-SGP (Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme), SUN Foundation, Waitukubuli Ecological Foundation, Sustainable Living Initiative Centre, Dominica Poultry Association, Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation (DomSeTCO) and WIDECAST (Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network).
Errol was adventurous and inquisitive and had a stick-to-it-iveness so that he never stopped learning or trying new things. For example, he enjoyed learning about computers and the newest smart phones. He practiced taking selfies (which his grandchildren say he did with only limited success) as this was a very different approach from being the man behind the camera. However, his real photography continued growing into the higher tech digital mode and became more focused on plants, wildlife and landscapes. He also spent many hours as a Ham Radio Operator learning Morse code and making contacts and friends all over the world.
Errol died on Saturday, December 12, 2020, four years after suffering a severe stroke. His passing was summarized most succinctly by his wife Marcella who wrote in the family WhatsApp chat.
"J73 EH, Echo Hotel, is now silent RIP My Love"