It is the month of Independence and many Barbadians will be encouraged to reflect on what mirror image we have of ourselves. A reading of BU blogs might suggest Barbadians should be concerned about the lack of leadership emanating from almost every facet of Bajan society. The mirror image of ourselves which the father of Independence, Errol Walton Barrow, encouraged Barbadians to see when he delivered his famous Mirror Image Speech is as relevant today as it was when first delivered.
Let us use one example to show how cloudy the mirror of ourselves has become. Many Barbadians have started to question why perennial World Draught Champion Ronald (“Suki”) King continues to be treated by his own like the commoner he is not. Why is it he has to continue to wash cars to fund his many trips overseas to defend championships? Why is it he continues to have to knock on the doors of corporate Barbados to beg for money? Why is it as a National Sports Council employee he has to ‘pull his pocket’ to buy Draught boards which he freely gives to school children or anyone interested in playing Draught?
Almost the eve of Barbados Independence; there is no better time to reflect why a Bajan who has made a habit of excelling on the world’s stage should have to wash cars and beg to support the effort. What we find incredible is the humility which Suki continues to display in the face of such wanton disregard by his own.
Of course we all know the answer lies in the fact the sport of Draught does not have the same mass-base compared to other sports and therefore does not attract the same publicity. What we as Barbadians should give weight to is to ask why Barbadians continue to refuse to acknowledge the excellence demonstrated over time by a son of the soil, mass-based or not.
Giving national recognition and support to Suki King should not be dependent on the popularity of Draught or the demographic of who is playing. It should be based on a simple reality; there is a sport called Draught which is played around the world and a Barbadian name Ronald ‘Suki’ King is the best the sport has ever seen.