Over 100,000 USD to go to hurricane rebuilding efforts

Hundreds of patrons including students turned out in a show of support at the 3W’s Oval, Cave Hill, Barbados for the Celebrity T20 Cricket Hurricane Irma/Maria Relief Benefit on Saturday 11 November 2017. The match was hosted by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) in partnership with platinum sponsor, Sagicor Financial Corporation as well as Flow Sports Premier. The aim of the event was to raise awareness and funds to rebuild schools and hospitals across Caribbean islands which suffered significant damage during the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria earlier this year. A Sagicor-UWI ICONS XI team played against a Prime Ministers’ XI and saw the Prime Ministers’ XI win by 7 runs when the match was curtailed by rain. In the end, Sagicor presented a cheque for 100,000 USD towards the cause, bringing the total raised to 111,591.18 USD including contributions from other corporate partners and online and cash donations.

An impressive line-up of current and former West Indies and international cricket stars as well as regional government ministers and student athletes also supported the event by signing up to play. The final roster on the evening included: Dale Richards, Leniko Boucher, Justin Bramble, Floyd Reifer, The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Cameron Pennyfeather, Vasbert Drakes, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, The Honourable Darryl Smith and Antiguan Parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister, The Honourable Chet Greene for the Sagicor-UWI Icons XI; meanwhile, the Prime Ministers’ XI team comprised Dwayne Smith, Omar Phillips, Shaquille Martina, Nicholas Kirton, Sherwin Campbell, Yohan Blake, Tino Best, Shamar Springer, Larry Joseph, Philip Defreitas, Carlos Maynard and Gilon Tyson.

The friendly match featured several dramatic highlights including former West Indies player, Franklyn Rose, taking the first two wickets, and current West Indian cricketer and UWI alum Omar Phillips, capturing the title of “Man of the Match” after retiring out on 84 runs from 54 balls. His partnership with former Barbadian international cricketer, Dwayne Smith made 123 runs. The UWI’s own Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles also impressed the crowd scoring 39 runs, with two sixes among them.

Speaking on the initiative and his company’s donation, Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor Life Eastern Caribbean, Mr Donald Austin said, “We were honoured when we were approached by The UWI to lend our support to the ‘T20 Cricket Hurricane Irma/Maria Relief Benefit’. This event presented us an opportunity to partner to meet another aspect of the need: the rebuilding of schools and returning children to classrooms and the restoration of healthcare facilities. This immediately resonated with us, as children and families are at the core of the Sagicor brand.” Mr Austin also made the plea to overseas partners with technical expertise to contribute their time and manpower in whatever way they can. He urged, “Let us get our children back to school.”

Representing The UWI Cave Hill Campus Management, Deputy Principal, Professor Clive Landis stated, “The Cave Hill campus was very pleased to host this fundraising celebrity T20 cricket match in support of The UWI’s hurricane relief effort. It was entirely in keeping with the immediate response by the Campus community in the aftermath of the hurricanes, which saw households open their homes to students who may not be able to return for the Christmas period and the launch of an Adopt-A-Student Emergency Fund. We share proudly in the success of the celebrity T20 cricket match and thank everyone who contributed their time and money to this worthy event.”

In addition to Sagicor’s financial sponsorship and donations and Flow Sports Premier’s broadcasting the match live, several other local (Barbados) and regional organisations came on board to support including: Barbados Beach Club; Barbados Cricket Association; Barbados Cricket Supplies; Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.; Caribbean Airlines; CGI Consumers Guarantee; City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union; CO Williams & Co Ltd.; Cobblers Cove Hotel; Infinity Hotel; LIAT; Merville Lynch; Oceans Two Hotel; Sagicor Life Inc. Sharers Tours; Southern Palms Hotel; Sport & Physical Therapy Clinic and Virgin Atlantic.

The Celebrity T20 Cricket Hurricane Irma/Maria Relief Benefit was just one of The UWI’s many initiatives as part of a larger two-phased approach to response efforts. The regional University in its call to “Rally ‘round the West Indies”, sought to leverage the cultural tradition of cricket that brings the Caribbean together to help rebuild the hurricane affected islands. The University’s other efforts are largely concentrated on the deployment of relief aid and experts, working closely with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), as well as Heads of Governments and mobilising funding to assist in the restoration of these affected islands. A number of other initiatives to support affected staff and students are also being coordinated across the University’s campuses and members of staff also have the opportunity to give through salary deductions. The online platform, www.uwi.edu/relief remains open to accept donations until November 30, 2017.