PM Douglas says natural and accomplished talents of Runako Morton should not be lost on youths

BASSETERRE, ST.KITTS, MARCH 19TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas hopes the natural and accomplished talents of the late Nevisian and West Indies cricket hero, Runako Morton will not be lost on the young people of the twin-island Federation.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas presents his tribute to the late Runarko Morton. (Photo courtesy of Gavincia Clarke/Nevispages.com)

“May the fruit of his hard work impress upon our nation’s young people the value of perseverance and commitment, strength and courage – no matter how great the obstacles. And many obstacles and distractions our people face, our own departed hero faced. But after all he was human. May the example of his talent inspire our young to patiently search for, and find their own,” said Prime Minister Douglas at a Thanksgiving Service for Morton at the Elquemedo Willet Park, Charlestown the Nevis capital on Saturday.

In his tribute, Prime Minister Douglas noted as he sat in his seat at the funeral service, the reality of the heart-breaking moment.

“How unbelievable the loss, the loss of our beloved local, regional and international sports hero. Death, as I have said in response to Runako’s passing, is never welcome. And death in the young has a pain all of its own. When the death of the young is sudden and unexpected, it seems too much for those left behind to bear,” said Dr. Douglas, noting that Runako Morton was a “young man from a tiny island Nevis of two blessed islands of a proud and progressive Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis with a talent that often defied human comprehension.”

“Who would have thought, as we saw this son of Nevis striding onto cricket fields throughout the Federation, throughout the region, and around the world that this moment awaited him – and, indeed, us? Who would have thought that the time in which he would be allowed to bat, to field, to score, to excite, would be cut so suddenly short, who, indeed, would have thought,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, who extended condolences to Runako’s mom and dad, ex-wife and children, the relatives, the friends and colleagues, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Government and People of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“I wish to remind us that the pain will not end overnight. The sadness will not suddenly disappear. I only pray that the kind words, the support, and the encouragement of others will give you and us the strength and the comfort that we so surely need. In the midst of the sadness, though, I urge you to be strengthened and lifted up by the memory of his extraordinary talent,” said Dr. Douglas.

“I urge you to find comfort in the fact that this young sportsman whose gift and whose hard work yielded such tremendous results was, indeed, a part of your life. I urge you to believe and know that as long as we live in the hearts of those who love us, we never really die. And so, you will keep him alive, by keeping him in your hearts,” said the Prime Minister.

In a message to the young people of Nevis and the young people of St. Kitts, Prime Minister Douglas said:

“Runako Morton, like all of us, was born with a talent. At birth, that talent is hidden. As the years go by, hints of its promise begin to shine through. And with hard work, dedication, and determination, that promise bursts forth in full bloom and glory for all the world to see. This afternoon, I remind the citizens of our country in mourning, that our talents are all different. For some, we were born to shine in the realm of athletics. For others, in service. Yet others, in the arts, academia, business, parenting…..Through hard work, Runako’s talents shone as bright as the morning sun, for all the world to see. May God give comfort to all those who loved Runako Morton. May he live in our hearts forever. And may his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Nevis Pages reported that hundreds of mourners, comprising of family members, current and past cricketers and cricket officials and members of the general public, showed up at the ET Willet Park on Saturday 17thMarch to show final respects to the late Runako Morton.

The lengthy home going service commenced as early as 11.30 am with glowing tributes paid on behalf of the former West Indies middle order batsman, in poetry, songs and speeches.

The coffin bearing the remains of the fallen hero, who died in a tragic road accident in Trinidad, was wheeled close to the main square where a stage had been erected. The pall bearers included Chris Gayle, former West Indies captain and Wavell Hinds, Vice President of WIPA. The entourage passed through an impressive showing of local cricketers and representatives of the late cricketer’s former Primary School, The Joycelyn Liburd Primary School, with bats raised in salute.

The officiating Ministers were: Rev Canon Dr. Alson B H Percival; Canon Ernest Flemming and Rev Patronalia Brown.

Included among those paying glowing tributes were: Prime Minister of St.Kitts and Nevis, the Rt Hon. Dr Denzil Douglas; Premier of Nevis-Hon Joseph Parry; Minister of Sports in Nevis-Hon Hensley Daniel; Leader of the opposition-Hon Mark Brantley; LICA President-Gregory Shillingford; Nevis Cricket Association; Omari Banks; Hon Chief Justice Hugh Rawlins; Runako’s adopted father, Joseph Liburd; family members and Chris Gayle.

The eulogy was delivered by former Premier of Nevis; current opposition leader on Nevis and former Combined islands opening batsman, Hon Vance Amory.

The proceedings were chaired by Cabinet Secretary in the Nevis Island Administration, Mr. Ashley Farrell and the sermon was delivered by Rev.Canon Dr. B. H. Percival.

The procession later left the Park for its extended journey to the cemetery at the St. George’s Anglican Church grounds at about 4.45 pm.

The impressive enlarged photograph of the gifted player with an appropriate inscription, said it all: ‘Gone Too Soon Runako.’

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