‘Reds’ puts his life story in print
by HAYDN GILL in AntiguaONE of the most distinguished voices of West Indies’ cricket has put his life story into print.Joseph “Reds” Perreira, a household name in Caribbean cricket circles as a commentator for more than 30 years, has released an autobiography Living My Dreams that has just hit the shelves of Caribbean bookstores.The 266-page, 28-chapter book chronicles his life story from a boy during his early days in Guyana, his progress to becoming a broadcaster, the challenges and obstacles, his years in Barbados, a sad return to England, an Indian odyssey and his time with the St Lucia Tourist Board among so many other things.Perreira, who has been a radio commentator for 145 Test matches and many more One-Day Internationals since 1971, launched the book here yesterday at the Royal Palm branch of the Best Of Books following similar launches in Barbados and St Lucia last week.He was prompted to make the book a reality after he constantly encouraged by noted Caribbean writer Ian McDonald and St Lucian architect Claude Guillaume to write his memoirs.“I began to be very conscious that I need to try and write it. I didn’t start until I became 70 last year when I sat down and wrote a bit of a story line. You can’t start a book living your dream and start with a Test match. You have to start from our early days,” Perreira said.“I started around 1945 when we moved from Pomeroon River to Georgetown city against rural life. By then it was very evident that I had a major handicap in stammering. I stammered very badly.“I really struggled in school. Socially I was a cut off from normal socialising because I couldn’t participate in normal conversation. It had a major effect on my schooling, because people in those days had no sympathy for handicaps.”Despite those difficulties, Perreria rose above the challenges to become one of the Caribbean’s most outstanding voices and travelled to England, Australia, India and other parts of the world to paint a picture for West Indian cricket lovers.Living My Dreams, which includes a foreword by close friend and long-time colleague Tony Cozier, includes chapters on Perreira’s reputation on the line, his Kerry Packer involvement, Meeting The Legends, A Life-Changing Event, The OECS Years, A Near Miss At Jonestown, among others.“It wasn’t that challenging to put together once I got the story line right. Had I decided ten years ago to write a book, it would have been easier,” Perreira said.“A lot of little notes and details would have been kept. Starting in July and being able to finish February the next year was not a bad achievement.”There are also a number of pictures in the publication, among them Perreira meeting former Cuba president Fidel Castro. At the end of the book is an appendix with letters of testimonial from several outstanding Caribbean personalities, including former Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Lester Bird, former Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, former West Indies wicketkeeper Mike Findlay, St Kitts Tourism Minister and former West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt, former OECS director general Vaughan Lewis, long-standing sports administrator Kathy Harper-Hall and CARICOM secretary general Edwin Carrington.Major funding from the book came from United Insurance with assistance from LIAT and private sector entities in St Lucia.