Special batches of $2 notes featuring the iconic image of legendary West Indies cricketer Sir Vivian Richards will go into circulation on December 6 at commercial banks in all Eastern Caribbean countries.
The commemorative currency was launched in his birthplace on Friday night at Sandals Grande, Antigua in recognition of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s 40 years in existence.
“To be honoured in such a way is something dreams are made of,” Sir Vivian remarked upon receiving the first-ever $2 note to be produced by the bank.
He recognised his late parents who he said instilled in him the self belief which enabled him to be successful.
Today, Sir Vivian will host a special charity golf tournament with proceeds going to the Antigua & Barbuda Renal Society which serves persons suffering from kidney failure, and are in need of dialysis. The ECCB, he said, has pledged XCD$25,000 towards that cause.
Sir Vivian was selected for this honour given his strong influence on the West Indian community and his unwavering stance on critical matters that affected black Caribbean people.
Believing that cricket is more than a sport, he saw cricket as a Caribbean contribution to the international struggle against racism and white supremacy. Between 1982 and 1984, Sir Vivian refused a blank cheque to play cricket in apartheid South Africa. Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 to the early 1990s.
Camillo Gonsalves, Chairman of the ECCB Monetary Council said he was also vocal on a number of societal issues. “Today apartheid raises its head in new forms and in new locations, morphing into genocide and our sports people are quiet. But Sir Viv was never quiet,” he said.
“Now, we have a modern set of cricketers so consumed with money that they forget the importance of the unity of the West Indies cricket team” … “Those who chased money in apartheid South Africa, those who chase money today, will never find themselves on money, like Sir Viv does today,” he added.
Gonsalves said he hoped this honour would inspire cricketers and citizens in the Eastern Caribbean to embody integrity, excellence and purpose like the great Antigua-born cricketer.
“The Master Blaster”
Sir Vivian Richards is considered the best batsman of generation, dominating international stages for nearly two decades before his retirement.
Having been selected as part of the West Indies team in 1974, the 22-year-old quickly rose in status as a crowd favourite. Between 1984 and 1991, Sir Vivian captained the West Indian cricket team and led the team to 27 victories. He remains the only West Indies captain to have never lost a Test series.
In 2000, he was named by a 100-member panel of cricket experts, appointed by the famous Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the 20th century.