Express Editorial : Daily

The passing of Sir Everton Weekes, last of the legendary 3Ws cricketers, is an occasion to be reminded of the heights that we West Indians have dared to scale and the challenges we have been able to conquer.

The place of Sir Everton is not only secure in the history of cricket but in the history of the Caribbean. With Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott, he was part of the generation that broke the mould of colonial superiority and fired the hearts of West Indian with the pride and self-confidence needed on the road to self-government and Independence. For that generation, the sport of cricket went well “beyond the boundary”, to quote CLR James. They took the field with the full understanding that cricket was a battlefield on which West Indian self-hood could be won. They were the David to the might of colonial Goliath. Their victories ricocheted across the Caribbean and the British empire.

Sir Clyde described Sir Everton as the best batsman of the 3Ws and the statistics support it. After a halting beginning to a career that started in 1948 against England in the West Indies, he hit his stride in the final test, scoring his maiden century in a tally of 141 runs.

In India later that year he blazed a trail of centuries- 128, 194, 162 and 101. Taken with the preceding 141 against England, Weekes set a Test record for five centuries in consecutive innings that stands to this day. A sixth was denied to him when he was controversially run out on 90.

In the 12th innings of his career he equalled the record of English cricketer Herbert Sutcliffe as the fastest in the world to reach 1,000 Test runs. He was also the first West Indian to pass 3,000 Test runs, in 31 Test matches, and the first to score 4,000 Test runs, in 42 Tests.

As a black cricketer in the British empire, Weekes experienced the open cut of racism, most notably in a part of apartheid Rhodesia known today as Zimbabwe. During a Cavaliers tour in the early 1960s he was the focus of several instances of discrimination including having a match moved to a sub-standard ground because blacks were banned from playing at the better ground. He and fellow West Indian great Rohan Kanhai threatened to abandon the tour and only decided to stay after Rhodesian government officials apologised. In his home country, he has the distinction of being the first tenured black captain of Barbados.

In the tributes that have been flowing since his passing at his home in Barbados last Wednesday, Sir Everton has been hailed as much for his humility as for his batting greatness. He was born in poverty to a family that lived on the earnings of a father who was away for 11 years working in the oilfields of Trinidad and was brought up largely by women, a mother and an aunt. As a boy, he found company among the groundsmen at Kensington Oval where his love for cricket was stirred.

The story of Sir Everton Weekes is one of great triumph against the odds.

Farewell, dear Sir.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

When I first entered the world of newspapers in the mid-eighties, it was as a cub reporter at the Express. Physically, the newsroom was quite different from what it is today. The technology and production techniques would be unrecognisable now.

THE country is not at the juncture at which we need to panic, the Prime Minister told us yesterday, as he soberly assessed where we are in what was a relieving and critical adjustment to the Covid-19 guidelines.

I read Vaneisa Baksh in last week’s Saturday Express (Page 13) with interest but mixed emotions. Vaneisa is an experienced journalist, a cricket historian, lover of the game and someone whose articles are generally well respected.

Which political party will talk about investing services and monies into the development of our youth?

It is less than two weeks to the general election and I am yet to hear of plans or agendas which can support our young people to ensure that they reach their full potential and help to build a sustainable and inclusive society.

DUE to a fundamental misdiagnosis of the root problem, the traditional response is usually geared towards providing “universal” solutions to “all” citizens or of “making rain so that everyone could get wet equally”. The inevitable impact of such an approach is a widening disparity in economic and wealth distribution between the African diasporic group and other groups in the society. It should be obvious to all that the most likely winner of a 100-metre race (no pun intended) is the participant who gets the “jump start”. It is in these circumstances that the “false start” rule becomes operative and the race line-up is reset.

The upsurge of 24 new Covid-19 cases over the past 14 days needs to be fully addressed by the government.

With 10 of these cases having been confirmed in the four days between Monday and yesterday, the public is waking up to the reality that T&T has entered the dangerous new phase of community spread. And yet, from a public health policy perspective, it would appear that nothing has changed in response to this new worrying development.