Willett Recognised With MBE in New Year’s Honours
By: T. J. Chapman
SKN PULSE, Tuesday 3, December 2017 – Six years ago, the then Nevis Reformation Party led NIA through the department of Sports honoured Elquemedo T. Willet by renaming the primary sporting facility on Nevis, the Elquemedo T. Willett Park. Today, the Nevisian sporting icon who single handedly placed Nevis and the Leeward Islands on the cricketing map is being recognised for his service to sports.
Willett who was named as an awardee along with three other nationals, is receiving an MBE, (Willet was among 503 persons named for a MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List). The Nevisian sporting icon made his international debut back in March on the 9th day in the year of 1973 and it came at a time when many Nevisian and Kittitian families needed something to cheer about since many families suffered losses from the Christina Disaster.
Being a small island man among big island men didn’t deter the quiet yet humble Willett. It was at Kensington Oval that Willett played his first game against Australia where he bowled more overs than any bowler in his debut. He bowled 65 overs in the match and collected two wickets and had a lower run rate than that of the then West Indies strike spin bowler, Lance Gibbs.
Willett paved the way for Derrick Parry, Sir Vivian Richards, Andy Roberts and others.
Life after cricket saw Willet plying his trade as a Physical Education officer in the primary schools on Nevis. His tenure as a Sports officer saw the rise of the Charlestown Primary School as a dominant competitor in track and field, football and cricket.
While this honour is welcoming, 43 years after his debut, Vivian Richards has been knighted in Antigua and awarded National Heroes honours but Willet in Nevis hasn’t been recognised for decades. Former West Indies President J. Hunte once said at a ceremony honouring Willet that ” I am not certain what Elquemedo achieved has been properly recognised and documented.