Reds Perreira

I made some noise in a recent column in this space regarding the need for Guyanese to publicly recognize the singular achievers among us, including some who have passed on, the purpose being to elevate our knowledge of the worth of our own and especially so that our youngsters would grow up knowing of people of worth in their past.  I had mentioned some names in the post – Laddie Lewis; Robert Christiani; Young Joe Louis – and I subsequently heard from readers with other names, some of whom, I must admit, were new to me.  One name I did know, partly because we are related, was that of sports commentator and organizer Reds Perreira and this week, as Reds is celebrating his 80th birthday, I’m using this space to hail him up for his accomplishments. Going in, I have to acknowledge our unusual family connection: Reds’ mother Claudia, was one of the children from the marriage of Pomeroon farmer the late Joseph Francis Martins to his wife Aldreena. After Aldreena’s passing, JFM married Zepherina Barcellos, from Hague, and I was one of five children from that second union. It’s a tricky one, and I’m not sure what that makes me; Reds says I’m his step-uncle. Case closed. Growing up in West Dem, I knew Reds at a distance, but we became close over the years, particularly when I started coming back here on Tradewinds visits.  By then, Reds was a name in radio.  He had gone to England in 1962 and found work with the BBC doing a variety of short sports interviews although he was working hard on eradicating a childhood stammer.  Perreira doesn’t buckle easily. He beat the problem using various intensive therapies and on returning to Guyana four years later, ended up getting a steady gig with the Government Information Service doing a weekly half-hour sports show on the GIS station.  He then moved to the GBS station, under the late Hugh Cholmondeley, a spot that launched his broadcasting career in the Caribbean.  Reds recalls his first regional broadcast in 1969 in a cricket match at Rose Hall when other local announcers were tied up with a Jamaica/Barbados inter-colonial match at Bourda. His reputation for concise and interesting repartee was building and a pivotal event came when he covered two West Indies cricket matches in 1971 (vs. India and New Zealand) and had gone to Jamaica to cover the Foreman/Frazier championship fight. “They invited me back for the West Indies Australian tour and the Test Match…that opened the door for me at the international level.” On the recognition lately, a certain Mr. Ray Roberts had beaten me to the punch praising Reds on Facebook and noting that “at 80, his articulation and sharpness remain top of the line, rekindling memories of his peak years in broadcasting international cricket and sports in general.” Reds (his Christian name is Joseph) Perreira has been a premier Caribbean radio and television commentator in sport for over forty years, much of it in association with Tony Cozier of Barbados, building a sterling reputation in covering cricket and various other sports.  Along the way, he had previously served in his homeland as Chairman of the Guyana Sports Council and as President of the Guyana Basketball Association and as Sports Adviser to the Minister of Sport Shirley Field-Ridley…..

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