Randy’s Final Step to the Rear
Randy D ended some of his radio programmes with the words “Let me take two steps to the rear and get out of here”.
Well, he has taken his final step out of here. The plaudits he received from calypsonians, other musical performers and the general public is testimony to the impact he had on people. If ever there was a cultural ambassador Randy was it. He was patriotic to the core. He not only loved SVG dearly but promoted it on every occasion he was able to. To him SVG was the best piece of real estate anywhere.
Randy was humble, sociable, warm, and always made you feel at home. He never strove for material things but was happy with his roles as radio personality and master of ceremonies. Although he participated in television, he was fully in love with radio. With Randy what you saw was what you got. He was a good school friend of my brother Ethelbert with whom I believe he played football. He always asked me about Randy and vice versa Randy enquired about him. On occasions when he came to SVG he was sure to contact Randy and to have lunch with him. Because of that friendship Randy took to me and whenever we met, we chatted for a while. He was host of the NICE Radio Saturday Morning programme “Letter from the Ground” and was always willing to voice his opinion when he felt it was necessary. As usual having him as anchor made my task as guest commentator so much easier. We talked often about his programme “Vibes Caribbean” and I made suggestions when I thought it necessary. He had invited me to join him in a new programme he was contemplating doing. He never mentioned the nature of the programme which never bore fruit because of his illness.
Others have talked about his involvement in the formation of the Graduate Calypso tent, formally the Undergraduate Calypso tent and his role as MC, not only in the tent but for numerous other shows. Randy sized up his audience and knew how to appeal to it. Perhaps his greatest contribution in the area of entertainment and culture was in the promotion he gave to Vincentian artistes. They were always glad to be with him for he was well informed about their work and his programmes, especially his Saturday morning show, was listened to far and wide. His links with stations in Canada and the US were also important in those promotional efforts. One sensed a feeling of comfort because of the way in which he accommodated and related to them. “The Right Hand of God” whose lyrics were written by Pat Prescod was one of his favourite pieces especially the version sung by the New Kingstown Chorale.
A programme I particularly liked was his link up with radio stations in New York and Canada on Christmas Day. With the growth of social media and developments in technology it might be difficult understanding what that meant in those days.
Based in Canada or the US, especially students and being able to send greetings to relative and friends at that time was simply great. There was then no Face Time or WhatsApp or Zoom. So, the opportunity to do that through a radio link up was treasured.
There were many things about Randy that not many knew about. These were mentioned in the highly informative interview delivered by his dear friend Keith Boyea. Efforts to feed the hungry and shows to assist persons displaced by the 1979 eruption of the volcano are testimony to the kind of person Randy was. While we applaud his role as a ‘stalwart in Vincentian culture’ as Scorcher described him, he was also an individual who was overly concerned about the overall development of our country and voiced his opinions on many occasions about the direction in which the country was moving.
Randy has made his mark and Poorsah’s “We Want Randy D” will live on as testimony to the impact he had on the country.
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian