Fifty-five-year-old Neville Banton is indeed a great father in the eyes of many. He shows this through his daily trek to the Harrison’s Preparatory School in St Catherine with his son Isaac neatly perched on his shoulders.
“I really respect this man. Every morning you can see him with his son on his shoulders. I think that he is a standard bearer of what a father should be,” Marvaline Watson said.
Banton, a former jockey, can be seen walking for more than a mile from Greendale to Hampton Green in St Catherine.
During a brief interview with THE STAR, six-year-old Isaac was dressed in his school uniform and seated comfortably in his customary position – his dad’s shoulder – and smiling.
“I do not mind carrying him to school, as I believe it is my duty to take him, plus it eases the financial pressure. I saw my uncle doing the same when I was a youth. It’s just a labour of love,” Banton said.
BOND WITH SON
The former jockey, who now does construction work, said that he gets strength from the love for his child and the constant encouragement he gets along the journey.
He told THE STAR that even at the school he gets encouragement, and that the journey is an opportunity to strengthen the bond with his son.
“He was born in the United States of America, where his mother still lives. He is being schooled here, and it helps to draw us even closer as father and son. He is a blessing to me,” Banton said.
When asked about Isaac’s mother, Banton pointed out that all is well with her, and that he doesn’t mind taking time out to carry his son to school.
“The mother has done the greatest job in carrying the baby in her womb for nine months. That is a great sacrifice on her part. The child must get all the love and support to grow, and I am doing all I can to give my support, starting with his education,” Banton told THE STAR.
Banton also had a warning to deadbeat fathers who fail to take care of their responsibilities.
“Fathers have a duty to support their children to the best of their abilities,” Banton said.
He told THE STAR that his winners as a jockey were ‘Arpis’, ‘It’s a Riddle’ and ‘Blue Star’, but he stressed that his greatest rewards come from his paternal responsibilities to his son Isaac.