Movers & shakers (September/October 2003)

Omari Banks arrives in style, Baroness Amos takes charge, Michael Salickram perfects his art, Sonia Collymore wins fans (and a Juno), and Team Snack Attack is greedy for speed

  • Team Snack Attack, with Nicholas Lok Jack and Joe Pires at far left. Photograph courtesy
  • Sonia Collymore. Photograph courtesy Sonia Collymore
  • Michael Salickram. Photograph courtesy Michael Salickram
  • Baroness Amos. Photograph courtesy the British High Commission
  • Omari Banks of the West Indies celebrates the wicket of Adam Gilchrist of Australia. Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Banking on success

Omari Banks’s arrival on the international cricket scene during Australia’s recent tour of the West Indies was unforgettable. He scored a heap of runs (and ensured a world record was broken), he took a brace of wickets (albeit expensively), and he played his guitar like he was born to be on stage (his father is internationally known reggae singer and guitarist Bankie Banx). An unassuming and easy-going young man, Banks, at just 20 years old, was the first Anguillan ever to be called to the senior West Indies team. Surely cricket fans around the world will be watching his obvious talents, both on and off the field, for years to come.

Lady in charge

The circumstances of her predecessor’s departure were, to say the least, controversial, but the appointment of Valerie Amos as the UK’s International Development  Secretary in May was widely hailed as a historical milestone. Baroness Amos, as she has been properly known since her elevation to the House of Lords in 1997, was the first black woman to join the British Cabinet, taking up a portfolio crucial to Britain’s relations with the Caribbean. Born in Guyana in 1954, Amos migrated to Britain as a child, and began her career as a local government officer in London. She was chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1989 to 1994. Her political rise has rightly been a source of pride for many Britons of West Indian ancestry, and her combination of forcefulness and grace is proving a major advantage in the tricky negotiations inevitable in her new post.

Amazing grace

“Poetry in motion!” “Born to dance!” “The consummate performer!” This is the kind of praise Trinidadian Michael Salickram — dance guru and founder of the Shiv Shakti Dance Group — has grown accustomed to. An exceptional choreographer, who believes dance “is an art that must be perfected,” Salickram boasts talents inviting comparison with contemporary international greats Joaquin Cortes and Michael Flatley. Most famous for infusing classical Indian dance with a Caribbean flavour, Salickram’s productions explore the cosmopolitan nature of his home in the Antilles, blending aesthetic ideals and cultural realities, taking his audiences’ breath away with the sheer grace of his movement.

Take the Juno

Sonia Collymore may not (yet) be a household name in the Caribbean, but she’s certainly hot property further north. A native of Barbados, currently based in Canada, Collymore took home the 2003 Juno award for Best Reggae Recording at the Canadian equivalent of the Grammies. It was her second Juno, following the Best Female Newcomer award she copped in 2001. Originally a backup singer for the likes of Beres Hammond and Leon Coldero, Collymore won this year with You Won’t See Me Cry, a song recorded over the Natty Bay Riddim, produced by Hammond’s nephew and producer extraordinaire Yogie. A full album, on her own XES label, is due later this year.

Playing fast

Speed, speed, and more speed. In May 2002, Trinidadians Nicholas “Tico” Lok Jack and Joe Pires, already established winners at the Superboat Limited National Championship, purchased the national and world champion raceboat Planetman. Renamed Team Snack Attack, this formidable vessel — which under previous ownership set a world kilo speed record of 169.533 mph — has been expertly harnessed by its new driver and throttleman, who claimed four back-to-back victories and a second place overall finish in their first season racing in Superboat Unlimited Class. On 21 September, see them try for new records at the 2003 Super Boat Championship in Miami.


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