After approximately 100 hours of production work, which included tweaking a series of seven enlightening interviews into a one-hour format, the much-anticipated documentary highlighting the Life and Times of elite sportsman Elquemedo Tonito Willett premieres Wednesday (May 1) – Willett’s 60th birthday – at the Charlestown Primary School Auditorium, starting at 8:30am.
Willett created history on March 9, 1973 when he debuted at Kensington Oval, Barbados aged 19 against Ian Chappell’s Australians to become the first player from the Leeward Islands to play test cricket for the West Indies.
He played 20 seasons for Nevis (1969-1989), on March 9 celebrated the 40th anniversary of his test debut, and on April 6 was honoured by the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA) at a Gala Awards Ceremony in Antigua marking 100 years of organized cricket in the Leeward Islands.
Captioned “Willett at 60”, the documentary which is told in Willett’s own words, is the handiwork of veteran journalist Stevenson Manners, and the island’s leading videographer Almon Dasent of Advantage Communications. In the closing moments of the “must see” documentary, Willett is joined by his partner of over 35 years, Sandrine (Willett), who Willett has called the “love of his life.” Sandrine said simply, “he is my hero.”
It is the second joint effort by the two Gingerland-born artistes to document the island’s oral history, coming approximately one year after they collaborated on “Sim Remembered” – a series of six interviews with Nevisians well-placed to speak of the all-encompassing achievements of Nevis’ first Premier, and father of Modern Day Nevis, Dr. Simeon Daniel.
Dr. Daniel passed away on Sunday, May 27 last year, age 77.
The “Sim Remembered” series developed in the days leading up to Daniel’s June 4 Home-going Service highlighted the former Nevisian leader’s achievements in politics, banking, agriculture, education, tourism and virtually every facet of Nevisian life. One of the interviewees, was wife and former First Lady Mrs. Sheila Daniel, who told viewers, “Nevisians didn’t really know Sim.” She characterized him as a man who loved his people and his country, and a devout family man. The interviews drew such rave-reviews from television and You-tube watchers that Manners and Dasent were inspired to do more.
Manners, who is the documentary’s presenter, called the most recent body of work, a “labour of love”, and said that it is an imperative that the contribution of Nevis’ top sportsperson of the past 40 years be documented for present and future generations. He said “Willett at 60” will form an important part of our oral history.
He said it was great fun and synergy to work with Dasent, who masterminded the technical aspects of the production, and Willett – the subject of the documentary.
“The final product should bring great pleasure to nationals at home and in the diaspora, and sports lovers generally,” Manners said.
Manners and Dasent have collaborated with Charlestown Primary School principal Mr. Kevin Barrett and staff to launch the documentary, at the school where Willett has worked since 1997, and has brought close to 2 dozen championships, primarily in athletics, but also in cricket, football and netball.
Charlestown Primary is present joint Inter-Primary School Athletic Champs with the St. Thomas’ Primary.
Willett was born on May 1, 1953 on Government Road, Charlestown, and is an iconic figure on Nevis, and the sub-region.
Happy 60th birthday to Elquemedo Willet!