First Leeward Islander celebrates birthday today

By: Curtis Morton

Today, May 1, 2015 is a significant day in the life of Elquemedo Tonito Willet.

The quietly spoken, humble man, has the distinct honour of being the first Nevisian and indeed the first Leeward Islander, to make it into the West Indies Cricket team.

Willet who was born on May 1, 1953, turns 62 today and even though that effectively makes him eligible for his Social Security Pension, the man looks as agile and as fit as he looked when he made his test debut at age 19, on March 9th 1973 versus a powerful Australian team, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Well, except maybe for a few extra pounds.

On the eve of his significant day, Willet faced the camera in an interview with NTV channel 8 sports and indicated that he has not started to feel old as yet.

‘I do a lot of walking and jogging and a fair amount of exercise. I even do a lot of gardening: forking and hoeing and the like. So I keep pretty fit,’ he confided.

Asked about why after retiring from regional and local cricket, he never volunteered to play for the very successful Nevis Masters’ team; Willet noted that in his estimation, Masters’ cricket was not serious cricket. ‘When I am doing something, I am taking it seriously,’ he stated. ‘These fellows, most of them don’t train and just get up and play just like that. I can’t be a part of that,’ he said.

Asked about his future as a longstanding coach at the Charlestown Primary School, there was a glint in his eyes as he stated:

‘I still have a few more years to offer and after that defeat we received at this year’s Interprimary, I have to fix that before I leave. It would not do well for my legacy. There are some persons who are saying that because we were so badly beaten this year, that it will take us another four or five years to recover but I have news for them. We may rectify that as early as next year,’ he said ominously.

Asked about how he planned to spend his significant day, Willet noted that he was not into a lot of ‘hype.’

‘I will go to work as usual and maybe later on with a few family members and friends, I will have a quiet evening…maybe with a little chicken on the grill,’ he said laughing.

Then, as if he had just remembered something, he added: ‘Oh, maybe someone can sponsor me a night out at Yatchman’ s Grill (a local restaurant). I am a big boxing fan and I understand that they will be showing the fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao on big screen. I will enjoy that,’ he said.
He also noted that he expected Mayweather to win the fight.

When asked about the possibility of a knighthood sometime in the future, Willet stated: ‘I don’t think of such things but if something like that happens I would accept gladly,’ he said.

The entire Nevisian community and the Caribbean community by extension would like to wish the great man, a really happy birthday.

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