Friday, September 20, 2019

Joseph “Reds” Perreira To Receive Cricket West Indies Honour

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Press Release:- The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) congratulates acclaimed cricket commentator, Joseph “Reds” Perreira, who will be recognized by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for his sterling contribution to the game over the past six decades.

Perreira was informed of the honour via a letter dated July 2, 2019, and signed by CWI’s President, Ricky Skerritt, who wrote that, “CWI is indeed appreciative of your sterling contribution to the promotion of West Indies cricket and the development of cricket commentary in the region.”

Perreira’s live commentary of the upcoming Test Match at Sabina Park in Jamaica in the West Indies vs India 2019 Series will be his 150th Test Match as a live commentator. A brief recognition ceremony will be held on the field on the third day of that match (September 3) for the famed commentator whose vast knowledge of the game has inspired many cricket commentators.  

CWI will also provide Perreira with a return Caribbean Airlines ticket from Saint Lucia (where he has resided for many years) to Jamaica, hotel accommodation at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston and ground transportation to and from Norman Manley International Airport.

Perreira’s debut First Class game came in 1961 and featured Guyana vs. Trinidad at Rose Hall. He was in his early twenties at the time but word soon got around that he was interested in commentary having done so for friends at parties and other gatherings. He was soon called up by Rafiq Khan who sent him to provide commentary for a match at Rose Hall. That was the beginning of his illustrious career that has made him globally-recognized.   

“Whatever I have achieved has been because of people giving me the opportunity,” Perreira said about the upcoming recognition. “Nobody achieves anything by themselves. It’s also about taking advantage of the opportunities and prepare and learn from those opportunities.”

Perreira played cricket at Saint Mary’s school, the YMCA and the Catholic Guild Club in Guyana. However, he became infected by the commentary bug in the early 1950s after listening to radio broadcasts of cricket commentary emanating from England and often stayed up late at night to listen to matches being broadcast from the 1951 Australia tour. At first, however, he had to overcome a major challenge.

“I stammered very badly back then, so I was like a race-car driver with bad eyes,” he noted.

He spent twelve years at the OECS Sports Desk — which he created — as a Sports Coordinator and credits his cricket background for his outstanding performance in that position which allowed him to coordinate sporting events and share information among the various sporting clubs and associations within the region.

His advice to anyone wanting to get involved in cricket commentary is simple: “Prepare to be able to work on your own sometimes doing imaginary commentaries as I did. Work with little radio stations to provide 10-minute reports and, slowly but surely, establish yourself. Just tell the story of the game – don’t get involved in the politics of the game. Stick to the cricket.”

Perreira also shared a concern that the game is losing a large part of its soul: “The worrying thing is that not too many radio stations are carrying cricket commentary anymore. It’s no longer like years ago when each regional station did so. Live cricket broadcasts and even cricket commentary are fast disappearing from radio in the region.”   

Meanwhile, accolades have begun to pour in for Perreira, including from former West Indies Vice-Captain Deryck Murray, fast bowler Michael Holding, diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders, Guyanese Dave Martins, Desmond Roberts and dozens others.

“The diaspora, especially the cricket lovers, are very pleased that CWI (formerly the West Indies Cricket Board) has seen it fit to recognize a man who has made a significant contribution to the game,” Oscar Ramjeet wrote in Kaieteur News. 

Perreira was born in Pomeroon on the Essequibo Coast in Guyana and moved to the capital, Georgetown, when he was six. He had a serious problem because of his inability to speak fluently and confidently, but with training and determination to move to the top he made it. 

He has rubbed shoulders with world-renowned commentators like John Arlott, Freddie Trueman, Brian Johnston, Richie Benaud, Alan McGilvray, and his mentor, Tony Cozier.
He covered 147 Test Matches and broadcast between 300 and 400 other matches, including ODIs and First Class games.

He reported from all the cricketing nations of the world, except Bangladesh. He covered the 1975 Prudential World Cup, the controversial Kerry Packer series, and games in South Africa during the Apartheid days.

Perreira has also written a book on his work, entitled “Living My Dreams”.


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