Clive Lloyd – Honour and Reward in the Caribbean

| August 1, 2013
Carey Christian CaribDirect

Columnist – Carey Christian

In a recent conversation with friends, someone posed the question as to whether Clive Lloyd has ever been given a knighthood. I explained that the closest commendation that he has ever received in this regard was that of Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

However, in 1985, he was also awarded Officer of the Order of Australia for services to cricket in Australia. The person expressed surprise that Clive was not Sir Clive. Ending the discussion we parted, but I contemplated the idea being endorsed that Clive Lloyd could receive a Knight Grand Cross.

I pondered if this idea made any sense for I am generally not interested in orders of chivalry. However it is vitally important to the Caribbean that the contributions made by Clive Lloyd and others to the game of cricket be recognised.

This line of thought also made me think about the West Indies as a larger unit and the Honour/Reward systems we have in place. Let me point out that Lloyd is a Guyanese, now residing in UK. Guyana is a republic, similar to Trinidad & Tobago, and does not use British orders of chivalry because the Queen (or King) is no longer Head of State. Nations like Antigua & Barbuda as well as Barbados (to name two) are constitutional monarchies retaining the Queen as their head of state.

Clive LLoyd

Famous West Indian Great Captain Clive Lloyd. Photo courtesy cricpix.blogspot.co.uk

These nations tend to award British honours annually through the office of their Governor General. Any of these nations could award Mr Lloyd with a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

However, I will avoid a campaign for him to receive such, but I will interrogate the systems of honour and reward in the Caribbean. It is urgent that we reflect upon our systems of recognition and reward and see what they tell us about our condition.

Several individual states within our region have given honours to a number of cricketers. Barbados has given Garfield Sobers a knighthood and awarded him national hero status for his contribution to West Indies Cricket. Vivian Richards, too, has received both a knighthood and national hero status from the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and Courtney Walsh has received the Order of Jamaica, one of Jamaica’s highest honours for his work with West Indies Cricket.

Sir Vivivian Richards

Sir Vivian Richards.Photo courtesy commons.wikimedia.org

Clive Lloyd, who has been praised as one of the greatest leaders in the game of cricket, has never received true recognition for his achievements from the region.

It is disgraceful that in the twenty first century the Caribbean Community does not share a proper unified honours system which rewards talent, hard work, dedication, and even sleepless nights.

If we are to seek Caribbean unity in its truest form, the region needs to show that it values people who have the time and ability to develop and nurture their skills so that they were/are able to perform at the highest level as representatives of all of us here.

A Caribbean national award would recognise Caribbean people in and outside the region who have contributed to sports, academia, arts and entertainment, business, science and technology and regional development to name a few. In this day and age it is important to imbue our young people with the belief that as a region we acknowledge hard work and perseverance.

One of the reasons for independence was not to have an excessive and mentally crippling dependence on outsiders. The British honours were used in the Caribbean (and elsewhere) as a tool of oppression. It was a way of crushing those who challenged British authority in the region by simply refusing honours to dissenters, but more importantly, it sought to reward individuals who were supportive, and even instrumental, in the oppression of their own people. It is time for a mental liberation. What is needed is a system created by Caribbean people for Caribbean people, run by Caribbean people.

Sir Garfield Sobers

Sir Garfield Sobers

 

Caribbean nations may choose to honour their citizens on an individual level and there is nothing incorrect about that. However, I question the idea of continuing to use a British honours system to give recognition to Caribbean leaders and heroes. I also want to express that I am not attacking Sir Vivian, Sir Gary and others who have received British honours.

These pioneers of the game should get as many honours as possible for their contribution to the game. We see republican sentiment growing throughout the islands, therefore, it is time in the face of this condition to make a progressive move and establish our own regional system to recognise the region’s great women and men.

Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica have attempted to distance themselves from the legacy of Empire by becoming republics.

One must understand that awarding separate honours which happen to be British creates disunity.  The region must create a new system which equally recognises and praises these great people who are dedicated and passionate about their craft, and who have contributed or are contributing their skills and knowledge to the region.

This unified system is one of many ways in which I feel we can build Caribbean unity. It would be a fitting tribute to our past heroes like Clive Lloyd and the ones who still work tirelessly towards our dream of Caribbean togetherness.

Read Carey’s other article on West Indies Cricket: Here

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