Boyce: Pardon cricket rebels
MINISTER OF HEALTH John Boyce has suggested a “proper” pardon for Barbadian cricketers who defied public opinion and took part in the rebel tours of racially divided South Africa in 1982 and 1983.
He said a pardon was in line with the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which had preached forgiveness and reconciliation for people who had perpetuated wrongs against society during the apartheid era.
Boyce said the commission operated on the premise that all people failed in one way or another.
He made the comments yesterday as the House of Assembly paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela.
Boyce said that decades after the controversial tour of a country which was under an international sports ban because of its racial segregation policies, the former cricketers still needed to be properly pardoned, recognized and acknowledged.
He said the media should give them “a larger space” to tell their side of the story. He noted that some cricketers had said their presence in South Africa had been a positive influence on the moves to dismantle apartheid, but said other players needed to “have their day in court, so to speak”.
He listed among the sportsmen who had taken part in the tours: Sylvester Clarke, Alvin Greenidge, Collis King, Ezra Moseley, Franklyn Stephenson, Emmerson Trotman, Albert Padmore and Hartley Alleyne.
Also touring South Africa were Gregory Armstrong, who acted as coordinator/manager, and David Murray.
The South African rebel tours were a series of seven cricket tours staged by a number of teams between 1982 and 1990. They were organized and conducted despite the disapproval of national cricket boards and governments, as well as the International Cricket Conference and international organizations including the United Nations.
The tours were the subject of much controversy and remain a sensitive topic throughout the cricket-playing world.
England’s rebel team was banned for three years while Sri Lanka’s was banned for 25 years, but the West Indies players were banned for life. (TY)