It speaks volumes when ah young girl of humble setting from Lodge Village, wid only a St Mary’s Catholic Primary school Education, no college or University Degree to her name, could “Move On” quoting from Joeana Christopher’s Calypso, or “Could Rise” (Calypsonian Hero) from ah local Netball Player, to de position of President of dis country’s Netball Association and later de esteemed position of President of de Regional Netball Association. She was also President of de Lions Club and was honoured by de Queen wid an MBE Award.
Ah must have written about “Miss B” before now, and if ah did ah would ah men-shun dat we were close friends foh many nears, and near-bar in Murray Village during de early years of her marriage to Freddie who incidentally, was my body-building coach. In fact we took de lady’s small ‘two-by-four’ kitchen and mek Gym to work-out every other afternoon. Oh what ah nuisance we were, she would have threatened to throw us out several times, were it not for her great love and tolerance foh all kind ah sports, Body-building including.
At ah very tender age, three events of great significance happened to Gloria, within months after each other. She gave birth to Jacinta (Rossie), she and her husband became born again christians, and thirdly dey got married. As ah recall over de years, there was ah Gloria Warner, later ah Gloria Ballantyne and finally an affectionate “Miss B”. In school, she was ah star athlete, won all de Primary School races in which she participated; she was also de Primary Schools most outstanding Netballer. It was at dat time word got around dat she was de daughter of St Clair “Rabbit” Warner, one of our best Nah-shun-all Cricketr/Footballer in his hey-day! De Rabbit Warner genes certainly manifested itself in his grand-children, de Ballanytnes. Everyone of Miss B’s offspring represented SVG in various sporting discipline: Jacintha and Orde in Athletics, Raymond and Junior “Midge” in Soccer, Bobb in Table Tennis and Joanne who recently passed-away in Netball.
Ah would be in safe territory if ah say dat it was during de Gloria Ballantyne’s leadership, dat Netball in SVG rose to higher heights. She of course, could not have done it widout ah formidable support team dat gave 100 per cent to de sport. Sometimes listing names could land us into trouble, someone always gets left out. But ah must men-shun ah few names dat come to mind: Joyce Frank, Marlene Arthur, Sonia Lewis all have pre-deceased Miss B; and Doris Mc Intosh, Hermina Cambridge and Joan Foster did ah great job in de Primary Schools, keeping de Netball Nursary kicking. To-gather dey instilled energy into Netball during dat period.
“Miss B” had several Loves, and very dear to her heart was de members of de “Nah-shun-all Society of and for de Blind” (NSOFB)” dey are like family members: Stanley, Tally and Elvis, Ezron, Danny, Maxeen and others. She was coordinator of de Society up until she retired, and would have played a significant role in getting Blind Persons in gainful employment wid de Mop Making Project at de Society’s Workshop. Miss B leaves us ah legacy of Love, Productivity and Success. She will be well received when she gets to Heaven.
Dis is Carnival Weekend. Ah playing Ole Mas, ah borrowing ah brain from Stanley John to give Abijah and Patches when dey singing foh dem Judges on Calypso Finals Night. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy.
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.