Apr 01, 2018 Sports
By Sean Devers
The Umana Yana, a Wai-Wai word meaning “Meeting place of the people’ was the venue for last Thursday night’s launching of the Guyana Sports Hall of Fame (GSHF) but there were very few Politicians in a disappointing turn out which included Mayor of Linden and former Boxing promoter Carwyn Holland.
It is widely known that outstanding Sportspersons are more recognised internationally and do more to promote their Country than Presidents and Prime Ministers do and this concept of launching a Sports Hall of Fame for Guyanese is the brainchild Rayman Williams, a former Sports Administrator and past President of the Darts Association.
The impressively organised programme commenced with the National Steel Orchestra’s rendition of the National Anthem while former adviser to Sports Minister Shirley Field-Ridley, St Lucia based Guyanese Joseph ‘Reds’Perriera was the MC.
GSHF Chairman Rayman Williams, Director of Tourism Donald Sinclair (the importance of Sports in Tourism) and Football Journalist Alan LaRose (importance of Sports history) spoke at the launching.
Deputy Director of Sports Melissa Dowe-Richardson provided a well-researched and eloquently delivered feature address on behalf of Dr George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth & Sports, who was not in Guyana, while Ronald Williams, the brother of Rayman, did the vote of thanks.
Perriera, who turns 78 in May, told the gathering of Administrators from a few National Sporting Associations and former athletes including outstanding ex table Tennis stalwart Mike Baptiste and former Motor Racer Cyril Angoy, that the aim of the Hall of fame is honour those who performed outstandingly for Guyana in Sports as a Player, Administrator, Match official or Media personnel.
Perriera, Guyana’s finest Cricketer Commentator, proved to be a wealth of historical knowledge as he took his audience down memory lane.
He said the Providence Stadium constructed for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup is the only International cricket ground in the World that does not have names on its stands.
Both the Collation Government and PPP/C Administrations have been reluctant to name the stands after cricketers who have helped to put Guyana on the Map.
The Stadium has been in existence for 11 years and both Governments seem not to care about Sports. The stands at Providence are named Green, Red and Orange.
Reds reminded that Maurius Pacheco Fernandes, who died on May 8, 1981, aged 84, had the distinction of leading West Indies to their First Test victory – against England at Bourda 1930.
He spoke of outstanding Table Tennis, Football and Hockey players while saying that this Country has also produced outstanding Runners, Boxers and Cyclists.
Pereira noted that a Hall of Fame was established in Trinidad in 1984 and sponsored by First Citizens Bank. Hasely Crawford, Ato Boldon, Ian Bishop, Learie Constantine, Russell Latapy, Dwight York and Brian Lara are among the close to 185 inductees in the Hall of Fame in Trinidad.
“There are seven Directors who have been put in place to run the Guyana Hall of Fame but they are not selectors and can’t select who are inducted. We will start with instalments of maybe 10 going back to the early days and moving forward from there,” explained Perriera.
LaRose informed that Andrew Watson, who was born in this Country, is the world’s first black person to play Football at international level.
Watson was born on May 24, 1856 and played three matches for Scotland between 1881 and 1882.
Watson was the son of a wealthy Scottish Sugar planter Peter Miller Watson and a local British Guianese woman named Hannah Rose. He moved to Britain with his father and older sister Annetta.
LaRose turned back time to the days of the Demico League in the 70s and 80s which he said was of a very high standard and added that the past is the foundation for our present and a catalyst for the future.
Sinclair spoke about the importance of sponsors and the benefits of Sports to tourism.
Many Governments give tax write offs for sponsorship towards sports tournaments and teams and a prominent Businessman and supporter of Sports confirmed that this is also done here.
“While the onus is on the Associations to provide some of the funds for overseas trips for teams representing Guyana it should be the Government’s role to provide infrastructure, employ, Coaches and spend more in helping National teams when they travel to keep the Golden Arrow Head flying,” Rayman Williams opined.
Rayman Williams disclosed discussions were held with Minister Norton who promised to help with the location for the proposed Hall of fame which he said could be somewhere on the East Bank of Demerara.
Attorney Raj Poonai, former WICB Director Claude Raphael, GCB’s Match Referee and trade Unionist Grantley Culbard, Businessman Vick Insanally, Ray and Ronald Williams along with DDS Mellissa Dowe-Richardson are the seven Directors of the Private incorporated Company. Insanally and Poonai were unavoidably absent.
Rayman Williams noted that this is not an overnight thing. “We have to have a democratic process and a fixed criterion before the selectors starts the selection process of naming the first batch of inductees. We also need to find a location. But the longest journey starts with the first step and that’s what we did tonight,” Rayman Williams told Kaieteur Sports.
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