The uncontrollable screams from houses, rum shops and business places could be heard for miles—the tears, tears that displayed how proud we are as a nation; the disbelief painted on the faces of Saint Lucians island-wide—West Indies (W.I) had defeated India and had made it to the T20 World Cup finals.
It was a moment that unified not just a nation, but a Caribbean. But this proved to be just the beginning for the team who later won the finals in an edge of the seat match against England.
This was it—a defining moment for the Caribbean at large, Saint Lucia especially, as two of our very own,Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles, had contributed to a historic moment.
The celebrations began throughout the Caribbean: motorcades, parties, and merrymaking by cricket fans and non-cricket fans alike—it didn’t matter that the latter had joined, as it signified that they too, were overcome with emotion by the fact that this victory gave us something to be extremely proud about—it represented us and was something that could never be changed.
Saint Lucia’s, Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles upon arrival at the Hewanorra International Airport, were greeted by dignitaries. Shortly after, the pair attended a press conference which was followed by an overwhelming greeting from hundreds of fans at the airport—the activities were all televised live.
“I just want to thank everybody for giving us this lovely welcome,”Charles, opening batsman for W.I said at the press conference.
“It’s not everyday that you get one of these. I’m honoured and I just want to thank everybody, the fans, familyfor the support and God as well, because the job comes with quite a bit of pressure and you need the inspiration,” an immensely grateful Charles added.
In a moving speech, Darren expressed his thanks at receiving a great honour; the Beausejour Cricket Ground would be renamed after the T20 captain.
“Just the thought of having a stadium named after me, this is humbling and I’m going to cherish it,” an overwhelmed Sammy said.
The captain touched on many topics and injected humour in certain parts of his speech, but towards the end, spoke on the importance of sports, saying, “I think sports is an avenue where you could drive a country;we have so many youngsters, and we are not short of talent,” he said earnestly.
“These youngsters just crave for an opportunity; an avenue where they could excel and I want to urge every single person, whoever has the influence, to seize this moment—let’s try and make sports a better avenue for the young people,” he added.
He again expressed his sincere thanks, offering a huge grin to an appreciative audience.
Subsequently, the W.I players enjoyed a motorcade in their honour, then proceeded to the Governor General’s Residence.
Afterwards, they made their way to the Derek Walcott Square, where a grand party awaited them. Hundreds of Saint Lucians came out to show their support and appreciation to Charles and Sammy who in a special way, had changed their lives.
And throughout the celebrations, Bravo’s (Dwayne) “Champion” could be heard.
It was a victory for Saint Lucia. It was a victory for the Caribbean. A victory that showed that though we are oceans apart, we are still, one people, one Caribbean, united by a fused passion.