HOT SPOT Rev. Hall worthy of knighthood
By Haydn Gill | Fri, November 12, 2010 - 12:00 AM
“I have always admired the man and today I still admire the man. I believe that whatever Wes Hall achieved and received, he should have received a long time before now. He is a man I hold in very high esteem and we should all be very proud of him.”
– National Hero The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers speaking at a gala dinner in 2007 to celebrate Wes Hall’s 70th birthday.
IT’S November, the month of our Independence celebrations.
One of the highlights is the annual Independence honours when recognition is given to outstanding sons and daughters of the soil.
Honourees would have made a significant contribution in public life, either in in sports, science, the arts, culture, and civic or other areas.
In the more than 15 years I have been contributing to the pages of this newspaper, I’ve made calls that have been popular and unpopular to others, that have seemed justifiable to some and comical to others, that have inspired changes in some quarters or failed to alter the status quo.
I’ve made recommendations on my choice as West Indies captains and composition of teams, voiced disapproval on both the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association for their handling of disputes, questioned the format of domestic and regional competitions, lamented shortcomings in regional cricket tournaments in relation to inadequacies to the quality of venues, criticised cricketers of declining standards in conduct and punctuality.
And the list goes on and on.
Never before, however, have I put forward a name as a nominee in the Independence honours list.
I do so today with some degree of trepidation with the knowledge that some may feel I am out of place or my question my credentials to comment the subject.
The name I putting on the table is for the island’s highest honour – the Knight of St Andrew, which is awarded for outstanding and extraordinary achievement and merit in service to Barbados and humanity at large
My recommendation is Reverend Wes Hall.
I feel compelled to make my view public because I feel it is a long overdue honour.
Hall’s invaluable contribution for so many years in so many spheres is immeasurable and deserving of the highest accolade.
It comes as a big surprise to me that despite his host of commendations over the years that he has not been given the recognition he deserves.
As a cricketer, Hall is best remembered as a feared fast bowler. Yet, he batted with aplomb in almost every position, whether it was on or off the field.
In public life, his service was equally outstanding.
In cricket circles, Hall distinguished himself as player, coach, manager, selector and regional board president.
Outside of the sport, he was a member of parliament in both the upper and lower houses, a Cabinet minister with varying portfolios, the holder of leading posts in corporate establishments, and an ordained pastor.
As a cricketer, Hall took 192 wickets in 48 Tests and is one of few in the game with a hat-trick at the highest level.When his playing days were finished, he started a long career in administration, serving as West Indies team manager in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He was also a selector at different periods, his last stint culminating in 1998 when he was chairman of the panel.
Most significant achievement
His most significant achievement, however, was his elevation to the post of the West Indies Cricket Board president in 2001. In 2005, he was appointed the first chairman of Cricket Legends of Barbados Inc.
Away from cricket, Hall also made a name for himself in politics, having served in both houses of parliament, holding several portfolios and leaving the legacy of developing the “sports tourism” that has contributed significantly to Barbados’ economy over the past 25 years.
Outside of politics and cricket, Hall was respected in the corporate field, landing high-profile jobs at Banks Breweries in Barbados, the West Indian Tobacco Company in Trinidad and Sandals Resorts.
Hall’s glowing resume is unmatched by few on this 166-square mile paradise.
There are not many who would have contributed so significantly in so many capacities with so much distinction.
His has been a life of service with great passion and commitment, and his contribution to public life is enduring.
Come November 30, I expect to be acclaiming this national icon as Sir Wesley Hall.
•Haydn Gill is the NATION’S Associate Editor (Sports) and can be reached at email@example.com
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