Saturday, March 2, 2024

EDITORIAL: We must preserve Cozier’s legacy


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I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag,

To uphold and defend their honour,

And by my living to do credit to my nation wherever I go.

THESE WORDS of the National Pledge found exemplary expression in the life andtimes of Winston Anthony Lloyd “Tony” Cozier, doyen of Caribbean cricket writers and commentators, to whom we will pay final respects on Friday.

We must not let his funeral be the last remembrance of a man whose name recognition internationally as a Barbadian icon is surpassedonly by the legendary Sir Garry Sobers and pop idol Rihanna.

In death, it would be a pity to let his memory simply fade away or be preserved through nothing  more than tiny bits of anecdotal data. We must keep his legacy alive.

 Many words of praise have been spoken and written about him since his passing a week ago at the age of 75 after a career that spanned almost six decades in journalism, and sports journalism in particular. Judging from those tributes all Barbadians should be proud of his stellar contribution.

The one consistent quality that characterisedhis career was a commitment to excellence, which was why he stood out, whether in Australia, Britain or India. Few others will follow in his footsteps. His desire to simply be the bestis what many more Barbadians must endeavourto achieve.

 But there was another side of Tony Cozier that we must not overlook.  He was a white Barbadian who transcended colour and class and never allowed it to define him. That is why even though he was unmistakably Bajan, he was at the same time the ultimate Caribbean man, readily accepted in Kingston, Georgetown or Port of Spain.

In life Cozier may not have been given his just recognition in his homeland. But he neversought any adulation for what was his calling; it was never about him but simply about doing the very best of the task at hand. He did not set out to attract the spotlight. But his excellence attracted accolades.

He has been honoured by the Marylebone Cricket Club and his name adorns the media centre at Kensington Oval, but he deserved much greater recognition. The West Indies Cricket Board in its tribute made a telling point when it noted that “he educated people around the world about our cricket, our people, our culture and who we are”.

 What a fitting tribute it would be if the new Faculty of Sport at the Cave Hill campus could bear his name for it would be a testimony to his passion for almost every type of sporting activity. It would be a great tribute to a decent man, a great journalist and an outstanding ambassador for the English-speaking Caribbean. A true and loyal son who did credit to his homeland.

May he rest in peace.


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