By Neto Baptiste
A jovial, well-liked and a confident individual is how many are describing former general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and former president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Gordon “Banks” Derrick following his sudden passing on Sunday.
One such individual is former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, who said the news of Derrick’s passing was shocking.
“Let me take this opportunity to say condolences to the football fraternity and everything Banks would have been involved with, and also send my condolences to his family. It’s just some sad news today and I am going to agree with the rock group that sang ‘I don’t like Mondays’ because it’s a punch that hits you were it hurts, but let’s just keep our chins up,” he said.
News of Derrick’s passing broke Monday morning and although details remain sketchy, reports are that he died after complaining of feeling unwell late Sunday afternoon. Further reports are that Derrick, a former chairman of ACB Mortgage and Trust Company, was rushed to a nearly hospital but died shortly after.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon “Kuma” Rodney, highlighted that Derrick also made contributions to art and culture.
“Banks was not only known in football, but he was a Carnival man and came out of one of the better organised promotion groups, DSC Promotions, and there was a Mas’ troupe as well in Xtreme. He was chairman of the soca monarch when, I think, we had one of the biggest soca monarch shows ever in Antigua under the chairmanship of his buddy, Neil Cochrane,” Rodney said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the ABFA said Derrick gave his all as an administrator and lover of the game.
“He gave his all to football and his vision for the sport in which the Caribbean is equal to all and subordinate to none, and he paid a great price. Still, neither his love for football nor his support for those of us still in the game waned. From chairman to cheerleader, his passion was unmuted and, perhaps, unmatched”.
“We express profound condolences to his wife, Wendy, and his children, Nazir and Gia, his siblings, Colin and Sandra, his DSC and friends, brotherhood, his extended family and all who mourn his loss,” the FA wrote.
There were also condolences from Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, who spoke of his relationship with Derrick via social media.
“I extend my sincere condolences to his brother Colin Derrick and the rest of the Derrick family. Banks and I represented Antigua State College (ASC) in soccer and were teammates of one of the most successful ASC soccer teams to date. We were also political opponents for a number of years, but remained friends despite our political allegiance. I am shocked and saddened by his passing. May his soul rest in eternal peace and rise in glory,” he said.
Derrick leaves to mourn, his wife Wendy and his two children. He was also the brother of former national security minister, Colin Derrick.