James ‘Heads’ Harris was an unsung hero whose life should be an example to young sports stars, says PM Harris
Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 7, 2019) — Prime Minister and Area Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Number Seven, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, has said that his Team Unity Administration will honour sportspersons who gave their all during their heydays and has asked members of the sporting organisations and the Ministry of Sports to make recommendations to the Cabinet.
Addressing a large gathering on the Mansion Sporting Ground on Sunday October 6 at a colourful ceremony to rename the grounds in honour of one of the country’s most celebrated cricketers, the late James Bernell Harris-Matthew, best known as James ‘Heads’ Harris, the Honourable Prime Minister noted that the cricketer was an unsung hero whose life must be an example to young sporting stars everywhere in the communities, the country and beyond.
“Today we have come to rename this beautiful edifice and all that is on this ground in honour of one of our unsung heroes in testament to his understanding sportsmanship, his outstanding support for cricket; and in honouring him today we honour ourselves,” said Prime Minister Harris.
Reminiscing the days of the old when great cricket games used to take place between the villages of Tabernacle and Mansion, Prime Minister Harris mentioned by name a number of players of yesteryears who used to excel. He pointed out that his government was there to honour the ordinary men and women of the country who went about doing the things they loved, bringing joy, bringing honour, and bringing pleasure to so many people and yet in those days they received so little in return.
Prime Minister Harris advised officials of sporting organisations who were present, and the Ministry of Sports to come up with some criteria which can be used to ensure that those sportsmen and women everywhere who blazed the trail, in cricket, in football, in netball, that in their advanced years they still can enjoy a happy and good life.
“We want you to come up with something because it has to be now more than the naming and the honouring of what they would have lost way back then for giving their all,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Perhaps now we can recompense them in part by some appropriate vehicle which I will leave for you to determine and to advance to the Cabinet.”
The function was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Sports, the Hon Shawn Richards; Senior Minister the Hon Vance Amory; the Minister of Tourism the Hon Lindsay Grant; Minister of Public Infrastructure the Hon Ian Patches Liburd; and Minister of Agriculture the Hon Eugene Hamilton. Others included Deputy Speaker the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Cabinet Secretary Mrs Josephine Huggins; Permanent Secretaries Mr Tom Buchanan of Sports, Mr Osmond Petty of National Security, and Mrs Elreter Simpson-Browne of Sustainable Development, and Commissioner of Police Mr Hilroy Brandy.
James ‘Heads’ Bernell Harris-Matthew, who died in March of this year at the age of 65 was a right-arm medium fast bowler who featured in 19 first class matches playing for the teams Leeward Islands and Combined Islands. His profile was read by his daughter Ms Chantelle Warner who broke down when she recalled that he was a loving father.
“I want to say for me, it is not much more I could add about the superlative cricketer but more than the cricketer was the man, the man for whom Chantelle cried, as she recalled that he was a loving father, who took his responsibility seriously – who took his fatherhood seriously and we wish that more of our young men will take their fatherhood more serious – will take their responsibility more serious,” said Prime Minister Harris.
The Honourable Prime Minister added: “That is what we would wish. Part of the challenge we are now dealing with in our societies is that there are too many boys and girls without loving fathers. Some of them are in the sports. We want more loving and caring fathers, nurturing our young people to become the best that they can be.”
The ceremony was chaired by Mr Anthony Wiltshire, the Director of Sports, and remarks were delivered by Senior Minister the Hon Vance Amory who would have played cricket against the late James ‘Heads’ Harris; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Sports the Hon Shawn Richards; Mr Alfonso Bridgewater, President of National Olympic Committee; Mr Charles Morton, Vice President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Cricket Association; while a former cricketer Mr Wilmon McCall gave the vote of thanks.
Cutting of the ribbon, unveiling of the plaque honouring the late James Bernell Harris-Matthew, and unveiling of the signage outside on the walls of the sporting complex were done by his daughter Ms Chantelle Warner, assisted by Prime Minister Harris, and Deputy Prime Minister Richards.