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Sir Gabby: educator, coach, Caribbean icon, neighbour

One of the most important jobs of being an MP is to continuously stay in touch with your constituents.

Earl Hart (File photograph)

At any given time of the day or night, those who voted for you — and even those who did not vote for you — will reach out to you.

Sometimes, more often than not, it is just so they can pass on some advice, reminisce about something historic or just to give you a piece of their mind.

Sometimes it can all be rolled into one call.

On November 7, 2020, I received one such call.

The principal's office

One of the residents of Devonshire called to deliver a message from on high. One tinged with humour, history and instruction. I cannot recall every word verbatim; however, it ended with this comment:

“Bring me a copy of the 2020 Throne Speech, let me see if you bies have done your homework.”

A few days later, a copy was hand-delivered to him on his doorstep.

“I will get back to you after I have a thorough read,” was his reply.

Immediately, one had a feeling as if they had just handed in their term paper to the college professor, who in due course would be calling you back to his office to deliver his critiques.

In retrospect, the aura of that moment should not have come as any form of surprise

Carifta founder

I was never a Warwick Secondary School student, so he was never my principal.

I was never a Young Man’s Social Club supporter or player, so he was never my coach.

So, while I knew of him and his legendary exploits, I never had the first-hand privilege of having him as my instructor.

One of his greatest exploits was as an original founder of the Carifta Games in the 1970s, the annual track and field event that gathers the top athletes of the entire Caribbean region.

The Carifta programme has gone on to produce some of the greatest track and field athletes locally: Debbie Jones-Hunter, Cal Dill, Mike Sharpe, Sonia Smith, Clarance “Nicky” Saunders, Troy Douglas.

On the world stage, the world's greatest track and field athletes of the past decade have come through the ranks of this event. Persons such as Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott, Kittitian Kim Collins and Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt began their march to Olympic glory via the Carifta programme.

Pond Dog Pride

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that this gentleman was part of the vision to create Carifta.

You see, anyone who is a proper born and bred “Pond Dog'' from North Hamilton, those whom society looks down on, will always know that unity is key to upward mobility.

On October 1, 2020, this gentleman walked into the gates of Christ Church Devonshire and embraced Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and myself not just as Pond Dogs but as Bekeleyites.

In fact, he was actually a former teacher of Ms Gordon-Pamplin.

You see, for many he was a longtime educator, sports coach and Caribbean icon.

For us who live in Devonshire East, he was first and foremost our neighbour.

Every other weekend, Green Acres resident Cymone F. B. Sims made sure to take him meals that had been distributed throughout Devonshire and Smith’s.

The much loved neighbour who looked out for us, came out and faithfully supported us and who, on any given day, picked up the phone to give us a call to reminisce on history, offer advice and give a firm piece of their mind — all rolled into one.

Please continue to watch over us, Sir Earl “Gabby” Hart.

Parish Pride Project

Tomorrow, between 9am and noon, we will be holding our first Parish Pride Project for 2021.

We will begin restoration of the boundary walls of Christ Church Devonshire.

In the initial stages, we will be scraping off old paint then power washing to remove moss. Subsequently, we will then be applying a coat of primer.

Volunteers are welcome. All tools, safety equipment and refreshments will be supplied.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published January 08, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 07, 2021 at 5:20 pm)

Sir Gabby: educator, coach, Caribbean icon, neighbour

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