On Target
January 11, 2013

Highlighting Marty’s plight

The current plight of this country’s self appointed national sporting and cultural mascot, Martian King, shows how quickly someone can shift from significance to a state of almost obscurity.{{more}}

For several years, Marty, as he is known to many, has entertained and has given a lift to several sporting and cultural events in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

It was almost a missing link if he was not seen at a major football or cricket event, dressed in the national colours, his face painted in the same and with an elongated flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines to add to his décor and show of nationalism.

Marty has taken his national support to Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, as chief cheerleader with the senior national football team during the World Cup campaigns, as well as the regional Caribbean Cup.

With a pledge of regionalism, Marty journeyed to Trinidad and Tobago in 2005, of course with his Vincy flag, to lend Vincentian support to the Soca Warriors, as they quested for a place in the World Cup finals in Germany, in a play-off against Bahrain.

He was a visible character at the annual independence parades at the Victoria Park.

Marty also held the source of sustaining many with his daily provision of food, while he plied his trade in the vicinity of the Salvation Army and Bickles restaurant, and previously the Gibson’s Building Supplies outlet.

However, Marty, the normally chirpy and effervescent character, is now a shadow of himself — having to be served, as he has to battle for his survival – having been diagnosed with cancer of the colon.

His condition became pronounced when he was hospitalized soon after the national carnival celebrations last July.

Now, Marty is in search of funds to go overseas to receive chemotherapy and radiation.

Such is his plight that he has resorted to source out his own survival by soliciting funds and other daily provisions from members of the public, through a colourful collection box which he carries through the streets of Kingstown.

This is in absence of any arrangements, legislated or otherwise, that assist national emblems in time of need.

But Marty’s condition adds to the list of persons, who, after serving at a national level, who are left to fend almost totally for themselves, when challenging medical circumstances befall them.

None the least among them is former national stalwart defender and national football manager Tyrone “Tweety” Spence, who is suffering from a movement disorder, occasioned by years of playing football for St Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as an injury sustained to the head while working as a postal officer.

In helping to address Marty’s immediate needs, it is not too late for the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation especially, to arrange benefit matches, not only to help Marty with his medical expenses, but also to show their appreciation for his output to football, and by extension St Vincent and the Grenadines, over the years.

The SVGFF has an opportune time to do so with the inter-community/league championships set to commence soon.

This, if the past is put behind, by those in that organisation who call the shots.

Likewise, the many artistes who have benefitted from Marty’s presence on stage during carnival celebrations, especially the soca monarch show, can now lend their collective talents, to hold a function in his honour and focus.

Similarly, those who used Facebook late last year to announce prematurely Marty’s eternal demise, can now be engaged truthfully in drumming up support for his cause.

It only takes one to lead the way — surely others will follow.

Helping Marty in his hour of need is the best way to show your gratitude to him for his initiative in hyping matches and establishing some semblance of a sports culture at sporting events.

Let us all remember — while the grass grows, the horse starves.