In the 1980s Ammanford Cricket Club enjoyed the talents of the most talked about cricketer in the South Wales League. The name of this sensational young West Indian batsman was Linton Aron Lewis and he quickly became a legend, still talked about by the town's cricket followers to this day. After leaving Ammanford Cricket Club, where he'd been engaged as the club's professional from 1981 to 1989, he collected a starry array of academic qualifications from British Universities, including a Doctorate (PhD) in Law, before returning to his native Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Once home, he became a successful lawyer, businessman and government official, active in the political and economic life of his country.
He also threw himself into St Vincent's political world as a member of the island's New Democratic Party (NDP), of which he was elected Chairman. In December 2005 Linton contested he country's general election for the East St George Constituency. Both he and the NDP were unsuccessful, however, in a campaign that drew allegations of electoral irregularities from the losing party, who have since taken their concerns over the conduct of these elections to the courts.
But first a little about Linton Lewis during his time with Ammanford Cricket Club from the club's historian, Dr. Martin Rhys:
Linton Aron Lewis in his playing days for Ammanford and Glamorgan Second Eleven in 1987. Later he would become Dr. Linton Lewis and is now a lawyer and businessman in his native St Vincent. He was a parliamentary candidate for the island's opposition New Democratic Party in the December 2005 general election.
Some famous names have graced the Park as professionals for Ammanford, but one of cricket's most famous names didn't quite make it. In 1955, the legendary West Indian Frank Worrall nearly came to the club. Local tradespeople were prepared to guarantee his match fees, but he decided instead to go to the Lancashire League. Nissar Ahmed was engaged instead of him. He was followed by David Evans, Alan Rees and Len Hill of Glamorgan, but without doubt the best known Ammanford professional was, before his arrival, an unknown.
.....Linton Lewis came to Ammanford as the result of an inspired committee decision under the guidance of dedicated secretary Don Phillips to gamble on a young West Indian hopeful. He arrived in 1981, when Ammanford were languishing in the depths of the third division. Within three years, Ammanford were champions of Division 1 and had won the Welsh Cup twice. In 1986, the Club achieved the double of becoming Division 1 Champions and Welsh Cup Winners. Ammanford Cricket Club and Linton Lewis had arrived. Club and professional grew together in reputation. Ammanford Park became a focal point for hundreds of cricket fans from all over South Wales, and often beyond. Only last summer I remember talking to an archaeologist from Durham University who could remember making a trip to Ammanford Park to watch Linton play. And who could blame him? Records were set in the 1980s which will probably never be broken. Up until that time, nobody had ever scored 1,000 runs in the League. In 1983, Linton amassed 1,543 runs including seven centuries. Several immensely talented batsmen amongst them Gordon Greenidge and Richie Richardson have graced the Park with magnificent power and elegance, but never was there such a complete destroyer of bowling attacks as Linton.
.....Linton left in 1989, much to the relief of the Park's bowling green regulars who had taken to wearing crash helmets during the first XI's home matches. But Ammanford had set a trend which was taken up by other clubs in the South Wales League. Overseas professionals were appearing everywhere. Standards were high, but home-grown talent was being stifled, and the League called a halt. Overseas players were initially banned, but this Draconian measure was later modified to one and which required them to have lived in the locality for 18 months prior to registration.
.....Linton's legacy was double-edged. On the downside, less magnanimous rivals labelled Ammanford a one-man team, an allegation which our continued presence in the top flight a decade later has shown to be unfounded.
Thanks to the arrival of the internet into our lives there's plenty of material on the world-wide-web which allows us to follow Linton Lewis's career after he left Ammanford. And all without having to move from the comfort of our computer chair, which is fortunate indeed, as the budget for this website (which is effectively nil) prohibits too many trips to the Caribbean to gather information in person.
From all this net-surfing we see that Linton Lewis used his off-the-field hours in Ammanford to good effect, and his academic achievements as enumerated in his 2005 election address in St Vincent are impressive indeed, especially as he's kind enough to include his time with Ammanford Cricket Club amongst his many achievements:
Dr Linton Lewis, Parliamentary candidate, in 2005. [www.ndpsvg.com]
Candidate's Election Address:
The New Democratic Party introduces its dynamic and capable team ready to lead St. Vincent and the Grenadines into a bright and prosperous future. Linton Lewis is your candidate for East St. George.
.....Linton Lewis is a man who is no stranger to hard work. He is loyal and dedicated to the growth of our nation. As a past member of the Windward Island Cricket team, he understands the importance of teamwork. His ambition coupled with his dynamic personality makes him a natural role model for the people.
.....Dr. Linton A. Lewis is a true son of the soil having lived in East St. George all his life. He was born and bred in Calliaqua and he currently lives with his wife in Cane Hall. Throughout his life Dr. Lewis has always shown the highest levels of ambition and determination. This is displayed by his achievements in all of the undertakings of his life, whether it is in the field of academics or athletics. Dr. Linton Lewis has excelled in every area of his life and he continues along this path so that he may be of greater service to his country.
.....Dr. Lewis' academic achievements pay tribute to his unquenchable desire to better himself. Early on, he obtained Student Teacher status at Kingstown Pupil Teachers' Centre. He pursued his higher education in the United Kingdom having attended the University of Wales where he successfully obtained the professional qualification bestowed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. At the University of Bristol he obtained his Masters Degree in Legal Studies. He became a Barrister-at-Law while attending the BPP Law School and Gray's Inn in London.
.....In 1996 he attended both the Institute of Business Administration and the Institute of Credit Management. In tribute to his greater objectives, Linton attained his Doctorate (PhD) in Law at the University of Durham. His PhD related to Law on International Crime with special emphasis on white collar crime and money laundering. Dr. Lewis is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA) as well as a distinguished Barrister-at-Law.
.....Few politicians in the Caribbean have the expertise that Dr. Linton Lewis has gathered through his varied experiences locally, regionally and internationally. Early in his career he held a number of positions in various Ministries including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour and Community Development. He worked in the position of Data Processing Officer at the National Commercial Bank (SVG) Limited, Financial Controller of the St. Vincent Brewery, Consultant to the Young Island Holiday Resort and Financial Controller of the St. Vincent Banana Growers' Association.
.....Since 1997 he has been a Barrister-at-Law and during the period 1997 to 2001 Dr. Lewis was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Offshore Financial Authority, a position for which his skills made him the best possible person. The scope of his duties in this position pays credit to Linton's abilities and his dedication to reforming the Offshore Financial Authority. In fact, he was appointed by CARICOM (The Caribbean Community & Common Market) to represent the interests of the Caribbean before the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Commonwealth and the Financial Action Task Force.
.....Not only is Linton academically accomplished, he is also athletically gifted, having represented his country in both Football and Cricket, toured with the West Indies Youth Cricket Team, represented the Windward and Combined Islands Cricket Teams and has also played professional cricket for the Ammanford Cricket Club and Glamorgan County Cricket Club in the United Kingdom. He has written and published a number of Theses, Dissertations and Articles dealing with a number of issues ranging from Money Laundering, Proper Representation, Sovereignty, and Offshore Finance. Linton contributions extend to the areas of Information Technology and Culture, having competed successfully in four categories in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Music Festival. Dr. Lewis has sung, composed and produced two albums.
.....A man is often measured by his accomplishments and Dr. Linton Lewis is indeed a man among men. The people of East St. George could not ask for a better representative. He is dedicated to transforming the country by working on a community-by-community basis and Linton intends to make East St. George the focus of a drive toward national growth. Dr. Lewis knows what proper representation is about and he will take the people of East St. George toward peace, productivity and prosperity. Linton is a tough man for a tough job. The people of East St. George must cast their vote for proper representation. They must cast their vote for dedication and accomplishment. They must cast their vote for Dr. Linton A. Lewis. [From: www.ndpsvg.com]
Despite such an impressive CV Linton Lewis, sadly, was unsuccessful in this attempt to become a member of his country's parliament and his New Democratic Party likewise failed to improve on their results from the 2001 general election. We wish Linton Lewis all the best in his future political endeavors; it's not normally the place of this website to promote party political causes but anyone who includes Ammanford in their election address deserves some mention, don't they?
The supervision of these elections wasn't without controversy, however, and the opposition New Democratic Party challenged the results in the courts, citing what it calls 'irregularities' in St Vincent's electoral process. There was disagreement, too, amongst the observers who were present during the elections, as the official website of the US Department of State, no less, reveals:
Elections and Political Participation
The ruling ULP was returned to office in December elections that international observers declared to be generally free and fair. The opposition NDP, however, claimed there were electoral irregularities that could have affected the outcome in three constituencies. The opposition said it intends to formally challenge the results in court.
.....The non-partisan SVGHRA (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association) also reported irregularities and questioned the ability of international observers to declare the election free and fair, citing the limited period of time that observer missions from both the Caribbean Community and the Organization of American States were in the country. The Non-Governmental Organisation specifically criticized the observers for failing to remain until all votes were counted. The elections produced no change in the makeup of the 15-seat parliament, with the ULP maintaining its 12 to 3 majority over the NDP. [From: http://www.state.gov/]
The conduct of the election certainly agitated the NDP in no uncertain terms, whose emotions on one occasion even spilled out of the parliamentary chamber and onto the streets:
St Vincent opposition walks out
by Kenton Chance
Caribbean Net News Correspondent
Monday, January 2, 2006
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent: The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament reconvened on Thursday with an opposition walkout and supporters of the two main political parties here almost engaging in violence, as a war of words escalated outside the parliament building.
.....The five opposition members of parliament exited the building to join supporters on the street shortly after taking their oaths as the governor general delivered the Throne Speech.
.....It was the latest episode in the Arnhim Eustace-led New Democratic Party's (NDP) political protest against "unprecedented levels of irregularities" in the December 7th general elections.
..... The NDP said it is not accepting the results of the elections and especially in three constituencies where the results were very close.
.....The party has also announced that it will be taking legal action to contest the results of the elections.
.....Shortly after the walkout, Eustace said the opposition will support the government in the interest of the country but felt it necessary to make a statement about the results of the general elections
.....He had written to the Speaker of the House of Assembly communicating the party's intentions to walk out, noting that the NDP does not recognize the moral authority of the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party (ULP) to govern.
..... "We'll work with the government as we have done in the past in those areas where we have common interest. We are not doing anything different now. But I think it is important today to make a statement on what happened in the elections," the former prime minister said.
Since then allegations against the Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves have escalated in seriousness. Dr Gonsalves' son was appointed ambassador to the United Nations, leading to allegations of nepotism. A human rights attorney from Toronto filed a complaint against "Comrade Ralph" for sexual assault in May 2008. This adds to a series of charges "Comrade Ralph" faces over sexual misconduct, including one from a security guard over an incident in the prime minister's abode. And we complain about our politicians.
A Brief History of St Vincent and the Grenadines
Map of St Vincent and the Grenadines
St Vincent is one of the smaller of the West Indian countries and belongs geographically to the Windward Islands archipelago. Situated north of Trinidad and Tobago it consists of the main island of St Vincent and a chain of small islands to the south. The total area is 389 square kilometres, with St Vincent accounting for 344 square kilometres of this. The 117,534 citizens of St Vincent in June 2005 compares with Carmarthenshire's population of 173,635 in the UK's 2001 census.
The original inhabitants of St Vincent and its neighbouring Grenadine islands were Carib Indians, one of the aboriginal people of South America and the islands of the Caribbean Sea (which takes its name from the Carib people). In 1796 the English colonists in the West Indies deported most of them to Roatan Island off Honduras, from where they have since spread extensively throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.
When Columbus landed on St Vincent in 1498 he claimed the islands for Spain, but they were eventually settled jointly by France and Britain with African slave labour, and the islands were finally ceded to Britain in 1783 after many years of dispute. The Caribs, like the African slaves brought in to replace them, had no say in any of these proceedings however.
Collectively known as St Vincent, the islands were part of the West Indian Federation until 1962 and acquired internal self-government in 1969 as an associated state. They achieved full independence, within the Commonwealth, as St Vincent and the Grenadines in October 1979.
Like most former British colonies, St Vincent inherited the legal and political structures of the United Kingdom, and their constitution dates from independence in 1979. The Head of State is the Queen, acting through a Governor General whom she personally appoints. Finally, for the curious, here's a summary of St Vincent's parliamentary system:
House of Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The unicameral House of Assembly serves as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' legislative body.
.....The House has a total of 21 members. Fifteen are chosen directly through elections in single-seat constituencies using the simple majority (first-past-the-post) system. The remaining six, known as Senators, are appointed by the Governor-general four representing the government and two from the opposition.
.....The most recent House of Assembly elections were held on 7th December 2005. The incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) was returned to office winning 12 out of 15 seats. The New Democratic Party (NDP) won the remaining three seats.
.....As head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is represented by a governor general, who is appointed by her, and who acts on the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet. [From: http://en.wikipedia.org]
Date this page last updated: October 1, 2010