Cricket’s voice, silenced
Dignitaries, past and present cricketers as well as members of the media, were among those who attended the funeral of internationally acclaimed writer, commentator and journalist Tony Cozier at Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens this evening.
The packed congregation included the world’s greatest ever all-rounder, The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers and fellow icons Sir Everton Weekes, Reverend Sir Wesley Hall, who delivered the sermon, Clive Lloyd and Joel Garner, who is the president of the Barbados Cricket Association.
Other noted players of different eras present were Trinidadian Deryck Murray, David Allan, Richard “Prof” Edwards, Robin Bynoe, Peter Lashley, Rawle Brancker, Wayne Daniel, Kraigg Brathwaite and Phil Simmons, who is now the West Indies Head coach.
Also in attendance were Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley, Opposition Barbados Labour Party leader Mia Mottley, former parliamentarians Sir David Simmons and Sir Richard Cheltenham and one of Cozier’s contemporaries as a commentator, Joseph “Reds” Perreira, along with members of his local club, Wanderers.
In his eulogy, Cozier’s son Craig highlighted his outstanding career and, on behalf of the Cozier family, thanked everyone present, as well as those who called and sent messages “for being such a source of strength in our time of mourning”.
“The outpouring of love for dad has been particularly moving – because as much as he influenced people through his profession, it was his human side that meant so much to all of us – and this shone through in all your kind words.
“It has been a privilege to read and hear the volumes of glowing tributes and the lasting imprint he had on the thousands of lives he touched in a positive manner,” he said.
Craig also gave a fairly detailed history of his father’s upbringing. The first of three children, he was born July 10, 1940 to E.L. “Jimmy” and Maggie Cozier “[from] the nomadic Coziers, as Jimmy’s communications work landed him in Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad and St Kitts during my dad’s formative years”.
Tony Cozier’s schooling took him through Fatima College in Trinidad, but the solid foundation was laid at The Lodge School in St John, where was enlisted as a boarder at the age of ten.
“Many of his lasting friendships were forged here – Rodney Jones, “Prof” Edwards, David Simmons, Chally Jones, Geoffrey Cave, Oscar Jordan, Arthur Bethell – along with many from overseas as well.”
Craig said his father had often recalled the pleasure he got from forging strong relationships with the likes of the late West Indies captain Sir Frank Worrell, Sobers [now Sir Garry] and Hall [Sir Wes], among many of the other players who were on the 1963 West Indies tour to England when “dad’s fledgling career got a major boost on a shoe-string budget”.
“And Sir Garry and Sir Wes remained steadfast and trustworthy mates throughout his life,” Craig stressed.
Describing the late commentator as his “friend, confidante and hero” and a person with an “amazing sense of humour”, Sir Wes said he showed love for his family and workmates. He also called on Government to honour his outstanding work in a fitting manner.
“He was prepared to seize opportunities which came his way and was the personification of Barbadian and West Indian excellence,” the preacher said.
Cozier died on May 11 at age 75, after waging a lengthy battle with cancer.
He leaves to mourn his wife Jillian, son Craig and daughter Natalie.