RIP Cazo

The content originally appeared on: Sun Dominica

Duty- Honour -Country, best describes Rueben Hesketh Casimir (not Heskeith as he emphatically reminded everyone on many occasions).

To his friends and acquaintances, he was known as ‘Cazo’ or CeeBee. He was born on October 30, 1918, the son of Roselia Theresa Nicholas of Roseau and Whitfield Casimir of Trafalgar.

He lived the early part of his life at 64 Hillsborough Street (Lakou Donce present site of the National Bank of Dominica. Later he moved to Upper Independence Street (adjacent to the Catholic Cemetery) and finally at 7 Jepson Lane, Goodwill. At 103yrs 9mths, he went to the Great Beyond on July 30th at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital having lived a full life as a husband, father, uncle, mentor, businessman, and musician.

He was married twice to Cynthia Casimir (nee Blanchard) and Myrtle Casimir nee Frederick) respectively. Myrtle gave birth to his two daughters Roslyn, a former member of the Government Band) and Renee.

At the end of his academic journey from the Roseau Boys School at Newtown, the Roseau Mixed School on Cork Street, and the St. Mary’s Academy. he landed a job as a clerk at the TD Shillingford Store on King George V Street. Subsequently, he branched off to establish the well-known Cee-Bee’s (an acronym for Casimir Brothers) on Cork Street in 1951. We all remember the many years being supplied with comics, Commando, Batman, Spiderman), magazines (Time, Newsweek, Life, Ebony. books (Mils & Boons, encyclopedias, school books), stationery, vinyl records (78, 33,45), household items, and Toyland.

For a short time under the management of his brother Joseph (Bill), they operated another branch called Cas Bro on King George V Street.
Indefatigable member of the Music Lovers Government Band

Just as iconic, Hesketh Casimir will be remembered for his indefatigable role as a member of the Music Lovers Band and the Dominica Government Band. Early in his youth, he was introduced to music by Ural Hyson who taught him to play first the clarinet and then the Tenor Saxophone.

Upon the declaration of the Second World War, he joined the Dominica Defense Force Band. His passion led him and his brother Bill, also a saxophone player, to form the Casimir Brother Swingette which dominated the dance scene until its demise in 1961 after a twenty-year run. For those who can remember, performances at the Coronation Hall, Albert Hall, and elsewhere were legendary! One such event occurred when their musical instruments had to be hoisted through the bandstand’s window because the hall was already packed to capacity well before the function was to start.

Every dance commenced and ended with the theme song “Certainly! It’s the Casimir Brothers!” as well as the National Anthem. CERTAINLY!
As a founding member, the Music Lovers Band was launched at the Queen’s Birthday Parade in the Botanical Gardens on June 7, 1951. Hesketh Casimir succeeded Cecil Bellot in 1968. He served as Bandmaster for thirty-six years up to 2004 when his baton was transferred to Mrs. Valena Letang. Members of the Band, and uniformed services, will remember the strident music at National Parades, while the general public old and young throughout the city and villages were serenaded at concerts and reminded of the joyous sounds of Christmas.

In recognition of his contribution to the nation, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 1973. On behalf of the Dominica Government Band, he received the Sisserou Award of Honour in 1981 and a personal Sisserou Award of Honour in 2003. In 1995, he received the Golden Drum Award and in 2004 he received Special Tribute for Service. He also received the Defense Force Medal from the British government in recognition of service during World War II.