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PM Mottley pays tribute to the late Sam Wilkinson

June 25, 2024

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has paid tribute to veteran journalist, Sam Wilkinson, who passed away this morning following a brief illness.

In her statement, the Prime Minister highlighted his contribution to sports reporting, describing him as a true Barbadian sporting icon.

Please see the full statement below:

“Today, while preparing for the funeral of my dear friend and party colleague, Herbie Yearwood, I received the very sad news of the passing of a true Barbadian sporting icon, Samuel Algernon “Sam” Wilkinson — who most interestingly, would have been known to countless Barbadians as Sporting Sam.

While Sam, the consummate sports journalist, had been out of the limelight for some time as a result of retirement, for many of us, his voice was one that will never be forgotten. When 7-Up Sam did his morning radio sports reports, he commanded as much attention as any breaking news broadcast. He stood apart when it came to sports reporting.

His was a lifetime dedicated to sports news, and he was as comfortable before the microphone producing a radio report, or facing the camera with his Cover Point television sports programme, as he was in front of the typewriter “knocking out” a cricket, football, boxing or basketball report for the newspaper.

There is no doubt in my mind that many of today’s young sports journalists owe him much, even if they have never heard his commentary or rubbed shoulders with him on the sidelines as he did his reporting.

I can say that because I know that as the first Sports Editor of the then fledgling Nation Newspaper, he set a bold new standard for sports reporting for a population that was only just coming into its own as an independent nation. Sam did for sports and sporting enthusiast what contemporaries like Harold Hoyte and Ridley Greene — both, sadly, departed — and Al Gilkes did for news.

And as we prepare for the Finals of the ICC T20 World Cup competition at Kensington Oval on Saturday, it is fitting we recognise that when it came to commentary and informed opinion of local, regional or international cricket, Sam Wilkinson stood tall among a very select group of respected Caribbean voices. Sam’s life as a sports journalist is in many ways as seminal as the event that will take place at The Oval this weekend.

To his wife of 54 years, Judy, and their two children, Samantha and Barry, I extend sincere condolence on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados.

May his soul rest in peace.”

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