New centenarian: Faith in God, hard work, key to long fulfilling life

“I worked very hard you know. I worked real hard,” said new centenarian Paul Valentine during a visit paid to him by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services in Trinidad.

Valentine, better known as “Diddy” and fondly called “Papa” by relatives, reached a significant lifetime milestone, having turned 100 years old on Wednesday 3rd June, 2020.

The new centenarian was born in Aripo and lived there ever since. “I used to visit St Lucia and America and well you can’t go anywhere now,” he said jokingly.

He has seven children, 30 grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren, some of which were there for the small “mask style” celebration because of COVID-19. Also there to celebrate with him was his sister-in-law, Julia Valentine, who would be 102 in July.

When asked about the secret to his long life, Mr Valentine said “Faith in God and hard work. They said hard work does kill people but that isn’t true at all. Hard work does give you a good exercise. When I done work, I would still go to work in my garden and work cutlassing and planting cocoa.”

Valentine recounted other fond memories of working with the US Forces during World War II and even contributing to the development of the HDC’s Maloney Gardens Housing Development.

Valentine was presented with a plaque, a certificate of honour and achievement and a hamper courtesy the Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis. The presentation is one of the Ministry’s many activities for older persons, on recognition of their significant contribution to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.