While players receive accolades for their performance on the field, there are a number of persons off the field who make it all possible, and so the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) on Thursday last honoured three men who operate behind the scene.
Awards were dished out to three outstanding Berbice cricket administrators who have been credited by the Special Events Committee of the BCB for their services “beyond the call of duty” to Berbice cricket over the years.
The trio – Vemen Walter, Albert Smith and Seepaul Sampat – were honoured under the BCB Tribute to Heroes Programme.
The programme, which was launched in 2008, seeks to identify and show appreciation for persons whose contributions to cricket have played great roles in the development of the sport in the ancient county and Guyana.
Each of the awardees received a Tribute to Hero plaque and medal sponsored by the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTYSC).
Former national cricket coach at the Under-19 and senior level, Smith coached the Guyana Under-19 team to six straight Regional Championships, in addition to coaching the Guyana team when they won the first ever Stanford 20/20 Tournament.
The highly respected coach for many years led Berbice to success coaching at the junior and senior levels, he served as chairman of the BCB Selection Committee and was for a long time an activist in the Bermine Cricket Club.
With over a decade of service, Sampat promoted Berbice cricket as an executive member and was not only the manager of the Upper Corentyne cricket team, but also the chief organizer of cricket in that region.
Walter, over the past few years, has been the chief organizer of the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club and played a major role in the development of the club as one of the best in the Caribbean. He served as assistant secretary of the BCB, as well as executive member and manager of the Berbice and Guyana Under-15 teams, for several years.
Chairman of the Special Events Committee, Hilbert Foster, hailed the three awardees as true cricketing heroes and role models to all cricketers countywide. He reassured them of the county’s gratitude for their dedication in developing several cricketers who have advanced to represent Guyana on the international front.
Foster, who is the serving Secretary/CEO of the RHTYSC, pledged that while in the past the services of many administrators and officials were scarcely recognized and honoured, that era had come to an end.
President of the Board, Keith Foster, stressed that it was important to recognize the labours of officials, who over the years contribute to the development of cricket, as much as it is necessary to highlight the achievements of the players.
Noting that the Board strongly believed in honouring its heroes, he stated that his administration was grateful for the major roles the awardees played in the development of Berbice cricket. The president also appealed to the awardees to continue serving the sport as their experience in the field will greatly aid the BCB to lift the game to a higher level.
The trio in their separate acceptance speeches all expressed profound gratitude and underscored their enthusiasm to continue serving cricket in Berbice and Guyana.