All hail Hall!
by PHILIP SPOONER
THEY DON'T MAKE them like they used to.They simply can't. Not when it comes to Wes Hall. He cannot be copied nor can he be cloned. He's a one-and-only.
It was a night to remember and one which the more than 300 guests present would not forget for a long time. The occasion was a gala dinner at Hilton Barbados
to celebrate the 70th birthday of the globally-revered cricket legend-cum politician, cricket administrator and evangelical pastor.
In a thank you speech punctuated with humour which started at 11 p.m. on Friday and closed at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday Hall chronicled how his genealogy had
a lasting impact on his life. He showed how a boy, born to a teenaged mother "just outside the walls of Glendairy" came to reach the "good ole age of three score and ten".
"I want to tell you that I am hippopotamusly happy. As I rise to speak to you I have to say that God has given me the strength and the wisdom to be here and I am eternally grateful. I am dedicated to the Lord's service. I endeavour, as always to do well for mankind so all will be touched by the power of His love," Hall said.
"The essence of my existence is my service to God . . . all we need in life is to maintain our faith as we see events come and go . . . . Like Job I give glory even in the face of gloom. Time is our greatest resource."
He said cricket, politics and religion had become a vinculum of his life and he stressed that "they have made me the man I am today".
There were several tributes from people who have been close to Hall.
Charlie Griffith, Hall's fast bowling partner was entertaining and gave insights into their times on and off the field, while Sir Garfield Sobers also recalled the many hours he spent in the company of a "truly great man of all time".
Hall's daughter Kerry described her father as one who believed in his children and "loved us unconditionally"; Sir Allen Stanford suggested "I'm always impressed
by this man"; while Sir David Simmons said he brought an "immeasurable amount of joy" to people across the world.
Professor Hilary Beckles and Lionel Weekes both looked at the close bond they forged with Hall. Beckles, principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, said he was extraordinary and champion of the underprivileged, while Weekes, who worked as Permanent Secretary alongside Hall, said it was "an honour to work with a man who was my hero".