Another appeal being made for memorial of  Alfie Roberts to be established at Arnos Vale
September 12, 2014

Another appeal being made for memorial of Alfie Roberts to be established at Arnos Vale

Another appeal has been made for a memorial to be placed at the Arnos Vale Playing Field to honour the contribution of the first Vincentian and West Indies test cricketer Alphonso “Alfie” Roberts.{{more}}

Social commentator Renwick Rose earlier this week wrote to both Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and president of the SVG Cricket Association Kishore Shallow, drawing to their attention a request made by an ad hoc committee in 1998 that Roberts be honoured.

“I have been asked by one of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee, the author of the letter, another committed Vincentian patriot in the diaspora, Atiba Weza, with whom you are well acquainted, to give support to this long-standing request and am therefore appealing to you, as Prime Minister, sports lover, patriot and a comrade of the late ‘Alfie’ Roberts, to lend your support to and blessing of the request,” Rose’s letter to Gonsalves, dated September 8, 2014, said.

He also asked the Prime Minister to use his influence to raise the matter with the appropriate authorities, “so that this deserved request can be facilitated and ‘Alfie’ appropriately honoured.”

In his letter to the Cricket Association president, Rose reminded Shallow that in the 16 years since the ad hoc committee had made the request for Roberts to be honoured, significant steps have been taken throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the cricketing world to “keep the names and contributions of outstanding cricketers alive by naming sections of numerous cricket grounds in their honour. Unfortunately, our late Test cricket pioneer has not been so honoured.

“I trust that your new administration will find favour with this most humble and reasonable request,” Rose said.

On November 5, 1998, Fadhilika Atiba-Weza wrote to then president of the SVG Cricket Association Lennox John making the request for Roberts to be honoured.

“To most Vincentians, Alphonso Roberts was ‘Phonso,’ the boy wonder who played the man’s game better than most men, and who represented the West Indies at the youthful age of 18 years. This accomplishment of touring and playing with the West Indies test team, was particularly significant, having occurred at a time when the West Indies was struggling with the issues of federation and unity, on the one hand, and athletes from the so called small islands were rarely, if ever considered, of being worthy of playing international cricket. It is also important in that it opened the doors through which passed the likes of Michael Findlay, Irving Shillingford, Vivian Richards, and countless others from the ‘small islands’,” Atiba-Weza’s letter said.

In 1962, Roberts left St Vincent in order to pursue his education in Montreal Canada.

“During his residence in Montreal, Alfie become one of the leading intellectual and political activists in the African Canadian community. He was a counselor to many African and Caribbean students, and his home become a resource for, and home to, many who visited the greater Quebec area.

“… He was also a Caribbean patriot in the highest tradition. While he never returned to live in the Caribbean, many remember his gifts of books, magazines, academic papers, etc. In addition he was always available to offer advice to social, political and community organizations. Alfie was so loved by those who knew him that it was not uncommon for many individuals to have claimed his as their best friend. Even those with opposing social and political views,” the 1998 letter said.

The committee, which also included Roy Austin, Rudolph Baynes, Arnold Lyden Charles, Dr Errol King, Carl Stephens, Cris Stephens and Cikiah Thomas, suggested that the dedication of a memorial (pavilion, stand, scoreboard, etc) to Roberts would be a fitting tribute.

Alfie Roberts died on July 24, 1996 from cancer of the pancreas.