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

Baroness Amos. Photograph courtesy the British High CommissionMichael Salickram. Photograph courtesy Michael SalickramOmari Banks of the West Indies celebrates the wicket of Adam Gilchrist of AustraliaSonia Collymore. Photograph courtesy Sonia CollymoreTeam Snack Attack, with Nicholas Lok Jack and Joe Pires at far left. Photograph courtesy Teamsnackattack.com

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.