SKN PULSE, Wednesday 28th October, 2015 – Scores of Nevisians turned out to the Elquemedo Willett Park on Saturday 24th October to partake in a candle light vigil and the Charlestown Methodist Church on Wednesday 28th October for the home going service of the late Philo Wallace, the Government Road All-Star who was destined for greatness. As his former classmates, friends, family, teammates and the region mourn the loss of a talented Cricketer, it causes me to reflect on the value of sporting personalities, the past, the present and the future.
Such an unfortunate incident highlights in my view the lack of respect/recognition bestowed upon our men, women and children who would have participated and continue to partake in sports. Seemingly, if one where to do a poll many of our citizens either wouldn’t know Philo Wallace or even know of his contributions to the game of cricket. Said that to say this, the contributions in sports be it Cricket, Net-ball, Track and Field or Soccer are often not highlighted as there isn’t any strategic plan in place for the development of sports at current.
To add insult to injury, when the Premier of Nevis addressed the press in St. Kitts and not in Nevis it brought to light the disregard for sport personalities and the lack of respect for our nation’s youth and their contributions. While, a representative of the Leeward Island Cricket Board expressed sympathies on behalf of the Board, while former West Indian Player Philo Wallace expressed his sympathies, the Ministry Of Sports remained silent. This is alarming especially when at a very young age, Philo Wallace had etched his name to fame as one of the “most promising all round cricketer in his age group”.
Bear in mind that a mere few months prior the dismissal of Mr. Elquemedo Willett was a hot topic. After serving in the capacity of Physical Education officer, our Cricketing Hero wasn’t even given a grand send-off. Today, the Philo Wallace product that Mr. Willet ably helped to develop was laid to rest without a national address from the Minister responsible for sports. At a time when the Nevisian populace mourns, the donation of some Soccer Balls from the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots seemed more convenient to post rather than organising a Press Conference or having a statement released to address the humane service Philo Wallace gave to the beloved island of Nevis.
For the record, it would have been a delight, to hear a press release from the Minister of Sports or even the Sports Ambassador in the Federal Government highlighting the significant contributions made by this young Cricketer as he represented his island in cricket from a very tender age. Additionally, he would have ventured to St. Kitts, Antigua, Jamaica and other regional islands to partake in many tournaments during his career. A stance must be taken, our Net-ballers, our Cricketers, our footballers and our Athletes deserve their due Respect and Recognition.
In an era where aspersions are cast on our young men, it is my view that the example set by Philo Wallace should be highlighted with much delight. Permit me to highlight his accolades accordingly:
1) Primary School Cricket: Most Outstanding Player – 2010-2011, Charlestown Primary School.
2) Former Member Of The Charlestown Secondary School Cricket Team.
3) Represented Nevis As A Player In The Following Tournaments:
Senior Cricket Team
4) Represented Nevis As A Player On The Leeward Islands Under 19 Team.
In his last outing for the Leeward Islands Philo scored 345 runs from 5 innings. That equates to a batting average of 69.00 while grabbing 15 wickets. Further, just back in April, Philo scored the first century in the Leeward Islands Under-19 tournament. He scored 105 and Nevis amassed a total of 351-8 declared. Moreover, Philo picked up 3-32.
Clearly when Philo as a sporting icon would have served his country with distinction, the defeaning silence by our Premier, the Deputy Premier and the Ambassador for sports leaves alot to be desired. The conscience to care wasn’t even exercised. For instance, the expectation that counselling would be offered to players and close friends wasn’t even a thought that materialised. Such an initiative is an integral part of the process to help our young cricketers and young adults cope with the loss.
In closing, a young man who was full of life gave his all for himself, his country, his family and his friends showed that with discipline comes reward and this in itself is clearly the definition of a True Patriot, An All-Star, A Role Model that young Cricketers could emulate.