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Greater sports focus advocated for selection of national heroes

March 23, 2020

Fred Sturupp


Firstly, let me express my support for the National Honours.

One of the positive undertakings of this Free National Movement (FNM) government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, has been bringing on stream the National Honours.

For more than two decades, Rev. Fr. Sebastian Campbell and others lobbied for a special awards format to honor Bahamian heroes. Prime Minister Minnis assured that it would be put in place. It’s something quite good and significant for the Bahamian people to have more knowledge about those men and women who contributed mightily to nation building through various endeavors.

There is disappointment, however, that, as seems customary in our society, those from the sports fraternity have been given minor attention. There is no desire or intent here to minimize the selection of the deserving luminaries who made the short lists for the inaugural honors of 2018 and those included among the honored ones in 2019.

Congratulations to them all! Nevertheless, I wish to change the trend of limited emphasis on the sporting heroes who have been just as magnificent in enhancing that which is positive in Bahamian history.

The first honors list included just three highly noted sports figures, and two of them (Cynthia “Mother” Pratt-Moxey and Dr. Bernard Nottage) no doubt were saluted for their participation in the political arena; and Dr. Nottage also for medicine.

Just the grande dame of Caribbean track and field, Pauline Davis-Thompson, was representative of the sporting community, only.

Thus, I question the era-to-era knowledge of the Advisory Committee for National Honours, the chairman of which is Mark Humes.

How is it that over two years of honors, the legendary sports magnate Charles Major Sr. has not been honored? Charles Major Sr. is deceased.

He was that visionary who was taken to New York with his family at the age of 11, persevered and excelled through his early years of school; enrolled in St. Bonaventure College; transformed that institution’s athletic program by becoming one of the world’s best high jumpers; later returned home to change the sports/community culture for the better; organized the Sports Community Center in The Pond (out east on New Providence); later established the Nassau Stadium’s tradition of glorious sporting events; coached national track and field teams; provided a forum for the genesis of women’s competitive basketball; and was a mentor of the highest order to others who were later able to make their very own meaningful contributions because of him.

There are many others who should have been considered by now, and hopefully they will be included among those honored during the 2020 heroes celebrations in October.

Thus, the challenge goes out to Humes and the rest of his committee to investigate our history more diligently so that, in the ensuing years, less and less of the true great heroes by way of sports will fall through the cracks.

Humes is the sitting member of parliament for an area, the Fort Charlotte constituency, that has had as its residents over time such as Leroy “Uncle Lee” Archer, Tex Lunn, the Rodgers family (Andre and his kin folks), the D’Aguilars (Adrian and Vincent) and Humes’ uncle Simeon, one of Bahamian history’s greatest center fielders and baseball professionals.

So, to a degree, Chairman Humes is linked to superb sports history.

Going forward, let’s see what unfolds, as is deemed by the Advisory Committee for National Honours.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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