FORMER captain of the West Indies cricket team Sir Richie Richardson received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) for his contribution to sport at the UWI Five Islands Campus graduation ceremony on Saturday.
Speaking at the event in Antigua and Barbuda, Richardson, 60, urged Caribbean people from “small islands” to never look at themselves as being small, because they all had big hearts and could compete with anyone in the world.
He received the honour along with a veteran Vincentian singer, Alston “Becket” Cyrus of Teaser fame.
Richardson told the graduating class of 2022 that he and Cyrus excelled in their respective fields and taught the world about their countries.
He said he was proud to be an ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda, and proud to represent the region as a cricketer.
He said he, Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Curtly Ambrose, and Sir Andy Roberts were committed to developing the Four Knights Cricket Academy, which opened in 2015 in Antigua and Barbuda, to identify and support emerging cricket talent. He believed once the people of the WI remained focused and disciplined, it could keep producing outstanding cricketers.
“I remain optimistic and hopeful that the WI will return to being the best cricketing team in the world someday, hopefully pretty soon.”
Richardson encouraged the audience to remember where they came from and the opportunities they got because of their people and country. He added that having received higher education, they were the beginning of a cultural change in their families, communities and countries. They now had to find their niche and excel at it.
“It is important that you know your history and identity and use it to cultivate your present and your future. We are all from small island developing states and the harsh reality is that many persons in other parts of the world are not even aware of what our respective Caribbean islands are called or what ethnicities and cultures make up our people.
“But you can change this as you utilise your knowledge to strengthen sectors and create awareness of our existing cultures.”
He recalled, as a young man, wanting to be like great West Indian batsmen of the past, and wanting to make an impact on the world stage, which “lit a fire” in him for the game and to succeed.
-Trinidad and Tobago Newsday