West Indies Chapter Inauguration

IFCR-Windies chairman Gary Williams reports on its recent inauguration

Saturday 5th May 2018 was a historic day for cricket loving Rotarians of the West Indies and spectators who gathered at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain for the launch of the International Fellowship of Cricket Loving Rotarians West Indies Chapter (“IFCR-Windies”).

The IFCR-Windies will comprise Rotarians of the West Indies (Rotary District 7030) who are passionate about the game of cricket and are interested in its promotion throughout the district. The charter certificate was presented to the local board by chairman of IFCR-World, Rotarian Bob Brigden of Australia and secretary of IFCR-World, Rotarian KR Parthasarathy of India.IFCR Board

The Board of the IFCR-Windies comprising Rotarians Gary Williams (chairman), Imtiaz Seepersad (vice chairman), Debbie Roopchand (secretary) and Vernessa Sankar (treasurer) was sworn in for a period of three years.

Gary Williams with the inauguration certificate

After the official ceremony the spectators were treated to two T-20 cricket matches.

The first cricket match of the day involved cricket loving Rotarians who had travelled from Australia, Sri Lanka, India and England playing against local Rotarians in a fun filled match that ended in a tie.

Lawyers & Judges Cricket teamThe second match of the day involved a combination of the international Rotarians and local Rotarians playing against the local team of Lawyers & Judges captained by Justice Joseph Tam.  This match was won by the Lawyers & Judges.

The Lawyers and Judges team

The Carib Stand was filled with the sounds of soca music, live steel pan, live commentary and enthusiastic cheers from spectators who viewed the matches while enjoying a variety of local dishes and beverages.Steel band

The day ended with an official prize giving ceremony involving the award of Man of the Match trophies and medals to participants.

The steel band at Queens Park Oval

In special attendance at the event was Rotary District 7030 Governor Mr. Waddy Sowma, president of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) Mr. Ken Gordon, QPCC Management Committee member Colin Murray, former West Indies Cricket team member Mr. Deryck Murray, representative of High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Aniruddha Das amongst other specially invited guests.

The Board of the IFCR-Windies having received its charter is committed to promoting cricket and increasing its membership with Rotarians from the West Indies who share a passion for cricket.

So how did we get to this point in the IFCR world?

In May 2017 I was searching the Rotary International website looking at the list of existing felllowships. June was approaching and that meant there was not much time to achieve our club goals if we wanted to be eligible for a Presidential Citation before the end of the Rotary year on 30th June. One of the goals at that time was to have at least one member join a Rotary fellowship. Also, June is designated as Fellowship month so that also would have been an ideal time to announce that we have some club members who were members of a fellowship.

As I went through the list I came across a cricket fellowship (IFCR) and so went to its website looking for details on this group. Unfortunately there was no mention of the West Indies let alone Trinidad and Tobago. There were all the other Test- Playing countries in the cricket world represented in the fellowship and even some non-Test countries listed.

I sent off an email enquiry to the address listed for the IFCR secretary and a few days later received a reply from secretary KRP Sarathy of India. From that time onwards he was relentless in his efforts to see the birth of the IFCR-Windies chapter of the IFCR. We communicated often and I started to seek out some Rotarians who might be able and willing to make this chapter a reality. We reviewed by-laws, charter certificates and other details from other IFCR chapters to get an idea of what would be required.

As soon as we had the first few Rotarians register their interest (17 at the time, and all from Trinidad) I informed Sarathy and the process of planning the launch event started in earnest around February 2018. The response from the other IFCR chapters was overwhelming and was an indication of the widespread interest in having a West Indies chapter of the IFCR. Nineteen overseas members made the trip to be part of the launch event. Locally we had several more Rotarians join the initial group as part of the organising committee working to bring off the formal launch event on 5th May 2018.

Two of the IFCR members from India (KRP Sarathy and Ravi Raman) decided to visit our District Conference in Suriname prior to our week of launch activities. Our District Governor, Waddy Sowma, was happy to have us talk about the IFCR and address the conference attendees.

 The hope is that we can spread the IFCR message to the entire District 7030 and eventually to District 7020 which is also part of the West Indies.