EDITORIAL: Oh, Danny Boy and Pretty Boy, Antigua and Barbuda calling

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Their names are Derrick ‘Pretty Boy’ Edwards and Danny Benjamin.  We’ve taken the liberty to dub the latter with the moniker, ‘Danny Boy’ in a nod to the beloved Irish ballad, DANNY BOY. That song, arguably one of the most recognisable tunes to the mortal ear,  speaks of the bagpipes calling a son of the  soil to his native land. The homesickness theme; the yearning and the longing for the familiar hearth, and the familiar faces and places, are poignantly captured with these wistful lyrics, “Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling / From glen to glen and down the mountainside / The [spring] is gone and all the flowers dying / It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide / But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow  . . . for you will bend and tell me that you love me / And I shall [not] sleep in peace until you come to me . . .”
       Of course, we missed our brothers something terrible. Many were the prayers that went up on their behalf. And there were many calls for more to be done on their behalf. For example, Makeda Mikael, a faithful supporter, carried a banner at last week’s ‘White March’ calling for stepped-up efforts to assist Danny Boy and Pretty Boy. The Jennings Grenades Football Club raised funds on their behalf, as did our own Joseph Apparicio of the GOOD MORNING JO JO sports show. Jo Jo and Mandy Weatherhead organised a charity cricket match and raffle to raise funds for the families of the duo.  The Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association also made a generous donation, as did the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association by taking care of the legal fees and other expenses of our boys, Danny and Pretty. And not to forget, the aforementioned Jo Jo and Keithroy Black who spent several Saturdays at the Public Market with boxes in which passers-by graciously dropped in their donations.  And neither shall we forget the hundreds of phone calls to radio shows and the social media postings in solidarity with Danny and Pretty.
We’re talking about that milk of brotherly kindness! We’re talking about Antiguans and Barbudans rallying around our kith and kin. Oh, and yes, we would be remiss if we did not mention the many local businesses that stepped up in a big way. We’re talking about good corporate citizens! Seems, times of crisis and distress will always bring out the very best in us! It was, and is, and forever will be, a thing of beauty!
And whilst on the matter of our better selves coming to the fore, there is no better exemplar of the best of Wadadli and Wa’omoni (indigenous name for Barbuda) than Danny Boy and Pretty Boy. We note, with more than a little admiration, the many voices that testified to the unimpeachable character of our brothers.  Indeed, the word on the street (and that’s where one is most likely to hear the real story), and on every hill and dale of our fair land was, “Not Danny and Pretty Boy!” Not for one minute did we ever doubt their innocence.
       Of course, what was most remarkable about Danny and Pretty was the quiet dignity and grace that they displayed during their ordeal. Seems, no matter the strain and stress, their mannerisms never lost that gentlemanly bearing and the acme of having been raised right. Of course, we understand that their strong Christian upbringing and unshakeable faith in the Almighty had much to do with their fortitude and confidence. Our boys acquitted themselves in a most becoming manner, and we are justifiably proud!
       Meanwhile, we join in extending our heartfelt condolences to Pretty Boy Edwards who lost a close relative while he was in Jamaica. To the Edwards family, we say, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .!” Ironically, Pretty Boy’s deceased relative was laid to rest at about the very same time, and on the very day, that Pretty Boy was freed.  Life . . . and death, eh?
        As of yesterday, we had no word as to when Danny Boy and Pretty Boy would be returning triumphantly to ‘Dadli, but we will be among the throngs expected to greet them upon their arrival at Sir V.C. Bird International Airport. We suspect that they will point heavenwards then stoop to kiss the good old Wadadli ground immediately upon their descent from the aircraft. We further suspect that we will hug them and kiss them and shed tears of joy!
      Danny Boy and Pretty Boy, Antigua and Barbuda calling . . . mek haste come home! Arwe lub you whole ton!  
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