Sir Hugh Foot At BCFA Inauguration Ceremony:

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner


PLEASURE AT THE inclusion of British Guiana in the membership of the newly-formed British Caribbean Football Association, was expressed by Sir Hugh Foot, Governor of Jamaica, at King's House on Tuesday night last when delegates from the six member bodies of the Association and local soccer officials and enthusiasts met to mark the founding of the BCFA.

"I am particularly glad that in this Association British Guiana is represented. We need British Guiana in West Indian Football. We need British Guiana in all phases and activities of West Indian life, and we specially welcome their representatives her tonight."

The Governor earlier extended a warm welcome to the officers and members of the new Association and congratulated all concerned on the speed and sureness and confidence which they had shown in forming the Association.

"It has taken a decade", said Sir Hugh, "to form a Caribbean nation. It took a week to make the world. It took you only a day to conclude the formation of the Association, complete with officers and constitution. And all this was done in amity and unity. What a fine example for those who have come together today to deal with Caribbean problems in another place.


The Governor said that all would join in congratulating Trinidad on having the honour of providing the first president of the Association. "We humble Jamaicans and Barbadians are content to be represented through the vice-presidents, Mr. Winston Meeks and the Hon. Dighton Ward. Indeed, our humility may well be a happy augury in the territorial discussions which are proceeding elsewhere, for we take comfort in the assurance: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

Sir Hugh went on to say that in the 12 years since he first came to Jamaica he had been constantly astonished by the fascinating principal paradox of the British Caribbean. "There is no region in the world where there is greater variety," he said. "There is no region where there is greater insularity, and where people in the several territories are more cut off from one another.

"The percentage of the people of the British West Indies who have visited any other West Indian territory must be tiny but with all the diversity and with all the isolation, the astonishing fact is that when West Indians come together they immediately realise that they are one people.

"I have seen it amongst West Indian students at the University College, and in West Indian Students' Clubs in London and New York. We have seen it in the political world in successive West Indian conferences. We have specially seen it in the world of sport.


"And after all, it is not so surprising, for we have a common heritage and a common outlook and a common system of education and a common belief in parliamentary government and equal justice, and a common loyalty. There is nothing forced or artificial about this coming together. It is as natural as a family coming together."

His Excellency said that he had always had an almost passionate interest in football—from the days when he used to watch his home side as a boy, wearing his school cap in order to qualify to enter the ground at half price. He said that his devotion to football in the West country of England made him look forward particularly to the match which he was to attend the following evening between the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and Trinidad.

"My allegiances will be strained to the utmost," said Sir Hugh.

"On the one hand, I shall feel a loyalty to the West Indian side, but on the other I shall feel an equal loyalty to the soldiers from my own County of Cornwall."


Recalling some of the traditional cries of the football crowds when he used to watch matches as a boy in England, the Governor said that there was one cry which he particularly remembered that morning at the meeting of the Standing Federation Committee in the Senate House at the University College. When one football player had dropped out from his team, the cry of the crowd always used to be "Come on the 10 men!"

"I thought of that cry this morning when I heard the speeches of the representatives of the 10 federating territories of the British Caribbean—and I hope that before very long British Guiana will make it 11."

Mr. Ken Galt, president of the British Caribbean Football Association, acted as chairman of the function. Among congratulatory messages to the BCFA which he read, were those from Sir Patrick Renison, Governor of British Guiana; Sir Edward Beetham, Governor of Trinidad, and the football Association of England.

"I am happy to give public assurance to this gathering and to delegates from the various territories represented here'' said the BCFA head, "that I am fully mindful of the responsibilities that have been thrust upon me."

Mr. Galt once centre-forward on Trinidad teams from the late 1930's up to 1947, gave a short account of the steps leading to the formation of the BCFA. He said the first move, was made by Trinidad in 1947 when during a triangular tournament among Trinidad, Jamaica and British Guiana, delegates from various countries held discussions. The talks ended in failure.

The Caribbean Football Board of Control, formed in 1951, embodied British and non-British countries, but was snagged by many difficulties.

Concluding his review, Mr. Galt said: "I wish to pay special tribute to Mr. Eric James, whom, I am sure you will all agree, has been mainly responsible for the formation of the British Caribbean Football Association.''

The Hon. Dighton Ward, M.L.C., delegate from Barbados, said: "The basic idea behind the British Caribbean Football Association is the betterment of football in the West Indies and the attainment of as high a standard as cricket has set on the international scene."

Other speakers were Mr. W. A. Husband (British Guiana), Mr. E. A. Comissong (Grenada), Mr. Stanley Iton (St. Vincent), the Hon. Franklyn Baron, M.L.C. (Dominica), who is also that country's delegate to the current conference of the Standing Federation Committee; the Hon.
Douglas Fletcher, M.L.C. (Jamaica) and the Hon. Noel Nethersole, Minister of Finance of the Government of Jamaica.

Mr. Ken Antrobus, delegate from St. Vincent, moved the vote of thanks to the Governor.

The Jamaica Military Band, conducted by Sgt/Major E. L. Stewart, was in attendance.

[photo caption]

SIR HUGH FOOT, Governor of Jamaica speaking at the inauguration ceremony to mark the formation of the British Caribbean Football Association, at King's House on Tuesday night last. Sitting (L to R) are: the Hon. Dighton Ward, delegate from Barbados; the Hon. Franklyn Bardon, Standing Federation Committee delegate who acted as observer at BCFA talks; Mr. Ken Galt, BCFA president; Mr. Eric James, secretary-treasurer; the Hon. Noel Nethersole, Minister of Finance; Messrs. W. A. Husband and Francis DaCosta, British Guiana delegate.