Our Readers' Opinions
March 4, 2014
Some regional independent states still sharing out British honours

Tue Mar 4, 2013

EDITOR: St Vincent and the Grenadines, although it became an independent state since October 1979, still retains the British honours such as knighthood, CBE, OBE, MBE, and Queen’s Counsel for outstanding lawyers. Guyana was the first to abolish the colonial honours, since 1970 when the country became a republic.{{more}}

The recent knighthood bestowed on three former test players last Friday by the Antigua and Barbuda Government prompted me to write this piece. Andy Roberts, Richie Richardson and Curtley Ambrose are not the only cricketers to be knighted by the Antiguan government; the master blaster, Viv Richards, got his in May 1999, and several other Antiguan nationals, including politicians, lawyers and diplomats, were so honoured. Even non-Antiguans were included in the highest national knighthood group, including prominent and outstanding Guyanese Fenton Ramsahoye, for his outstanding legal work and Brian Alleyne of Dominica, who acted as Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Also knighted was Guyanese Ron Sanders who served as High Commissioner in the UK under the Lester Bird administration.

Sanders was also knighted by Her Majesty the Queen.

I should also mention that the Antiguan government also bestowed knighthood on Allen Stanford, a top businessman, and the man who promoted Twenty/twenty cricket in the region. The top award was revoked by the Baldwin Spencer administration after the wealthy Texan was involved in massive fraud, which eventually led to his imprisonment.

Knighthood is an English tradition dating back to ancient Rome several centuries ago, and Antigua and Barbuda, a former British colony, adopted the “knighthood” award in 1998, but its honour is not by the Queen, but by the government of the twin-island state, handed out by the Governor General, who is the Head of State and the Queen’s representative. There are also honours for outstanding females called “Dames.”

There is disparity to my mind since the wife of a knight is called “Lady,” but the husband of a Dame does not have a title.

Barbados, also a former British colony which gained independence in 1966, by Letters of Patent on July 25, 1980, included Knighthood and Dame in its national honours, and since then a large number of cricketers, academics, lawyers and other outstanding persons were knighted, including Clyde Walcott, Wes Hall, Conrad Hunte, and several other cricketers; academics, Keith Hunte, Hilary Beckles and a host of others as well as politician Erskine Sandiford, a former Prime Minister and outstanding lawyers David Simmonds, a former chief justice, Henry Forde, Richard Cheltenham et al.

However, three outstanding Barbadian cricketers Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Garfield Sobers were knighted by Her Majesty the Queen.

Oscar Ramjeet