By Neto Baptiste
Popular sports and community activist, Stanfield “Shipwreck” Joseph said he was not shocked nor was he disappointed upon hearing the news that an application for him to be knighted during last Sunday’s Independence Ceremonial Parade and National Awards Ceremony had been turned down.
Speaking with Observer media, Joseph thanked those who made the effort to have him bestowed with the prestigious honour, but said the news did not ruin his mood as his motives were never geared towards receiving awards for service to his country.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all. It wasn’t something I was really looking for because I wasn’t working for no honours. I was just doing things that I like to do and enjoyed what I was doing, so I am thanking the people who have supported me from ever since, because every day they met me on the road they were very excited and telling me it’s something I really deserve but who knows, some other time it may happen,” he said.
News broke on Saturday, the day before the awards ceremony at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground that the application on Joseph’s behalf by another community stalwart and a close friend of Joseph, Anthony Stuart, had been turned down.
Joseph said he will continue to do what he can to assist with the development and growth of sports and communities in Antigua and Barbuda.
“I’ve worked with both guys on quite a few times and especially ‘Fredo’ [Keith Frederick] in the field of cricket at both the youth level and when he is organising the practice pitches, he is somebody that I am always working so. They are two good guys,” he said.
Joseph, who hails from the Grays Green community, was singlehandedly responsible for then popular Shipwreck Youth Football League held between the late ‘80s to the early 2000s. Joseph was also know to patrol his and surrounding communities in a large Coaster bus, ensuring that students attended classes.
The campaign for Joseph to be knighted was supported by many influential and iconic figures within the sporting fraternity, to 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.