By Neto Baptiste
An application for a knighthood made on behalf of popular sports and community activist, Stanfield “Shipwreck” Joseph, has been turned down by the National Honours Committee (NHC).
This was confirmed by former president of the Empire Football Club and a close friend of Joseph, Anthony Stuart, who made the initial application to the committee in June.
“I feel good about the application, the actual initial rejection is not something that I welcome – and I believe a vast majority of Antiguans and Barbudans – because many persons believe that he is deserving of one of the highest honours in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I was advised that the application is not dead and that the application will be revisited next year and if not next year, the year after. In fact, applications are held for three years,” he said.
Joseph, who hails from the Grays Green community, was singlehandedly responsible for the then popular Shipwreck Youth Football League held between the late 80s to the early 2000s.
Stuart, a founding member of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) political party, said Joseph was not downhearted by the news.
“He accepts the committee’s decision but it is persons who would have been clamouring for him because everywhere he went he told me persons were basically saying he was well deserving so it is those persons who were looking forward to addressing him sir, would not have the opportunity to do so,” he said.
“I would just continue to tell Mr Joseph and that is something he will continue to do, just continue to do the work. Mr Joseph is just such a good-hearted man and a national icon I would say, that I know he will just continue to be that ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda,” Stuart added.
The campaign for Joseph’s knighting was supported by many influential and iconic figures within the sporting fraternity. These include legendary West Indies captain, Sir Vivian Richards, former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin and president of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon “Kuma” Rodney.
He also received support for former national footballers and coach Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards and Ivor “Ninja” Luke, amongst others.
Joseph was awarded the Most Order of Princely Heritage (OH) in 2003 for his contributions to sports and nation building.