For the caribbean generally a West Indies win of any kind would be a special moment to savour given the rocky past our beloved West Indies cricket team have endured. However, for St Lucians who are proud to have more than one St Lucian on the side, it was a truly amazing and glorious moment.
It was such an experience that once word got out that the victorious West Indies team were passing through Gatwick airport in London en route to Barbados, St Lucians scrambled a small delegation of loyal cricket fans headed by the St Lucia High Commission’s acting High Commissioner, Minister – Counsellor Mr Albert Fregis accompanied by his Vice Consul Mr Verne Augustin.
Also on hand was Mr Bertram Leon – President of the Union of St Lucian Overseas Associations and Mr Darby Etienne, Career Diplomat and CaribDirect.com columnist.
Here are the comments of the officials who made the treck to Gatwick to welcome the St Lucian heroes:
Minister – Counsellor Mr Albert Fregis
Yesterday, my heart swelled with pride as I watched the contingent of the West Indies team as they arrived at Gatwick Airport. There was no air of haughtiness about them as they purposefully strode through the terminal. To a man, what I detected was a dignified air of ‘mission accomplished’ along with a quiet confidence.
My short interaction with Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles was enjoyable. Both young men are grounded. Charles is shy and Sammy is pleasant and humble, perhaps to a fault.
The small delegation of St. Lucians made our West Indies heroes feel welcome and gave a taster, albeit a small one, of what is to follow at their homecoming to their respective islands.
Sammy can justifiably bask in the accomplishment of the West Indies team under his captaincy and really, for all that he has endured, he deserves every accolade that comes his way.
Congratulations West indies. Congratulations Darren Sammy.
Vice Consul Mr Verne Augustin
A thrilling, long awaited epic moment would describe what West Indians describe as long overdue for the team and West Indian supporters.
The combined team effort was justly rewarded as the cricketers have proven the sceptics wrong. The victory could not have come at a better time and as in the past we move forward on a united front urging our supporters to ‘rally round the West Indies’ as in the words of the famous Trinidadian Calypsonian, David Rudder.
It is a momentous occasion and supporters are celebrating globally. Let us remember that we should be all round supporters in both victory and in the face of defeat. Well done lads – we are truly proud. You have put the ‘we’ back into West Indies!!!
Having Saint Lucians on the team has made the victory even sweeter and it is a significant milestone for our country to have one of our fellow nationals captain the team.
Mr Bertram Leon – President of the Union of St Lucian
Tuesday afternoon 9th October 2012, has already been cemented in my mind, as a very very special day. I witnessed with exceptional fondness and joy the arrival of our victorious West Indies Cricket team, with our now even more famous captain Sammy, en route to our homeland…
It gave me even greater joy to see that the welcoming committee at Gatwick North Terminal, were all St Lucian overseas nationals, except for our newly appointed Minister Counsellor – Mr Fregis. No one could have prepared me for such an eventuality, and the occasion was even sweeter after watching the Titanic effort by our boys.
Our national flag was waved proudly in the North Terminal…..then the players started to come out… one after the other and sometimes in pairs; Samuels, Bravo, Gayle, Narine, and our son of the soil, the now Great St Lucian Darren Sammy, in his dark shades coming through…he looked cool…sorry, he is cool.
The Trophy was being passed around and yes, I grabed hold of it…A trophy which had graced the hands of some famous cricketers was now occupying my hands.
I looked at it in amazement and polished it with the St Lucian national flag. This small feat received rapturous applause from the small St Lucian delegation who had come to welcome our boys…
As I polished it, all I remembered seeing was the flashes of a digital camera… CaribDirect.com’s camera, I danced with the Trophy, held it aloof as if I had just won it…
I’m proud to say that the North Terminal has never heard my voice before and neither will it again perhaps; but for that short moment, I was happy to shout at the top of my voice . This was for all my nationals worldwide who could not be there to share in this moment in time…
Would I get such a privilege again in my lifetime I asked myself…I doubt it, but this moment was mine to enjoy…and enjoy I did…
Thank you to the West Indies cricket team for installing some much needed pride back into our sport…you are all now legends and your places in history is already secured…And what of our captain marvel, Darren Sammy? Well the cast has already been set in which his statue will be made and erected next to our other greats, Derek Walcott, Sir Arthur Lewis and others…