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Cyrus to be honoured – and other matters

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The Caribbean has not really greeted news of the 100 metres world record set by Asafa Powell of Jamaica in the way it should.

This is an outstanding feat that should have meaning for us. He is the fourth non-American to hold the 100 metres world record following Donovan Bailey and Percy Williams of Canada and Armin Harry of West Germany. What is of significance and should be celebrated is that he has done it using training facilities on home ground. {{more}}Unlike most others he has resisted efforts to move overseas and has completed his feat using the modest facilities and resources at the University of Technology where he is a student and with the assistance of his locally based Jamaican coach, Stephen Francis.

Asafa has shown that you do not always have to go overseas to be able to make it. The reality is that most outstanding Caribbean athletes have achieved their prowess operating mainly from the United States of America and in some cases Britain. His feat has meaning beyond athletics for we have often been selling ourselves short and have been limiting our expectations of what can be accomplished here. The Bahamas, Bermuda and to a lesser extent Barbados and Trinidad have in recent years been pushing out outstanding athletes especially in the sprints. Jamaica, however, appears to have a program that the rest of us must look at. They have, for instance, been dominant in what I believe is called the Penn State Games. A lot of their outstanding athletes come through this route and many of them are grabbed by US coaches and Universities.

Great things were expected from Asafa at the last Olympics but he disappointed us coming in fifth in the hundred metres. Now, there is no doubt about it, he has become the fastest man on earth. He has done Jamaica and of course, the Caribbean proud. On June 14 at the Athens Super Grand Prix Meet, the 22 year old virtually blew the field away and to have accomplished such an achievement so early in the season has caused his coach to predict that he will run faster than 9.77 before the year is out. We really have to hail up Powell and record another remarkable feat by a West Indian.

Denesh Ramdin is in

A couple weeks ago a writer in one of the weeklies had penned a letter with a resolution to the effect that Browne’s name should not feature again in West Indies cricket. The selectors must have heard him and opted for the young Trinidadian Denesh Ramdin who had captained the West Indies Under-19 team at the World Cup in Bangladesh. This should have been done a long time ago. The youngster should have been given more exposure. Instead, we have Joey Carew who has long outlived his usefulness taking up the cudgel on behalf of Browne. According to Carew, Browne should not be made a scapegoat. If he had stopped at that we could easily have neglected it, but he went further. Browne’s performance was ‘no worst than anyone else.’ And he goes on to identify Sarwan, Gayle and Hinds. What nonsense coming from a selector! He is justifying some one’s place or position on the ground that he did no worse than others. How do you really bring these together? He said too that Danesh and Carlton Baugh needed to work harder and should have been more advanced given the presence of Jackie Hendrix and Jeffrey Dujon in Jamaica and David Williams in Trinidad. What opportunity has the West Indies selectors given either of them to gain exposure and advance themselves? Why did the selectors not opt for one of them when we had already lost the series against South Africa? This might however not be the end for Browne knowing our penchant for recycling.

Kudos for

Dr. Cecil Cyrus

Dr. Cecil Cyrus is among a list of six persons to be honoured by the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus at its graduation ceremony in October. The other five include Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS; Guadeloupean author Dr. Maryse Boucolon Conde, former West Indies Cricketer Wesley Hall, Mr. Harold Hoyte Publisher and Editor of the Barbados Nation and Lawyer/Educator Professor Keith Patchett.

Dr Cyrus has been singled out not only as an outstanding surgeon, but founder of the Botanic Clinic and Museum and for the publication of his Atlas with ‘its wealth of clinical and pathological information’. Of course, in St.Vincent and the Grenadines we are all familiar with his work but he has made his impact wider a field and has produced many outstanding papers on a variety of medical issues at regional and international conferences. Dr. Cyrus receives the award of Doctor of Science (DSc.) degree. I believe this is the first time a Vincentian has been awarded such an honour by the University of the West Indies. I extend my best wishes to Dr.Cyrus and feel that it is a fitting honour for outstanding service to St.Vincent and the region.

Death of

Dr. Cedric Grant

Many persons might not be familiar with the name Cedric Grant but Cedric has been a frequent visitor to St.Vincent where he has many friends. On one of his visits he delivered the Caricom Distinguished Lecture. Dr. Grant who was 69 years old served as diplomat in the Guyanese Public service being at one time High Commissioner to Zambia and later to the United Kingdom. He was also Ambassador to Washington and served in other different capacities for his country, Guyana.

Since his retirement from the Guyanese public service he has moved back into academia. His last position was that of Professor of International and Caribbean Affairs at Clark University, Atlanta. He died in Guyana where he had returned to put the finishing touches to a book he co-authored with Dr. Mark Kirton.