It’s in the embryonic stage, but being developed by Fort Charlotte Member of Parliament Mark Humes, is a program for a grand inaugural celebration to once again showcase the pioneer sporting stalwarts who made the area, in particular Clifford Park, one of the nation’s hallmark locations.
The wider Fort Charlotte sports environment, with Clifford Park as the centerpiece, included, parts of Chippingham, also the community called Harlem, North Nassau Street, Virginia Street, and Poinciana Hill. I venture that perhaps the general Fort Charlotte area has been the greatest breeding ground for sports icons in the country’s history.
It is my view that the island of Bimini when it comes to producing great Bahamians in sports, best compares to Fort Charlotte.
From this backdrop, Humes is embarking upon a project of immeasurable proportions. Hundreds of Bahamians, males and, yes, females (to some degree) surfaced in Fort Charlotte or (others) converged on the area to build, over decades of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, a legacy of superlative competitiveness and of a wholesome nature to boot.
Indeed the class that was demonstrated by the athletes and their mentors at Clifford Park and the expanded Fort Charlotte area has never been surpassed.
Names such as Paul and Francis Adderley, Anthony and Vince Curry, Francis Cancino, Andre Rodgers, Edison Armbrister, Simeon Humes, Bummie Albury, Barrie Farrington, Adrian Rodgers, Lionel Rodgers, Raymond Forbes, Harcourt Rolle, Leroy “Uncle Lee” Archer, Skeeter Dames, Tommy Robinson, Posey Gardiner, Sea Egg Taylor, J. B. Malcolm, Cabbage Hanna, Tex Lunn, Roy Dorsett, Hesketh Strachan and so many others, helped to craft the Golden Era of Sports in The Bahamas.
There was the glittering, though relatively short-lived period of field polo; the commencement of organized baseball and softball; soccer excitement; the Empire Day Track and field Meets; the emergence of the late legendary sprinter Robinson; the early triple jump magic of Hanna; the versatility of “Uncle Lee” as a sprinter and high jumper and later, as the greatest Bahamian soccer player, ever; there were those great rivalry meetings between the Catholic and Government Schools at Clifford Park with Hesketh Strachan starring for the Catholics and Dorsett for the Government school representatives. Fort Charlotte was definitely once synonymous for sports at the highest and most dignified level.
Now, MP Humes seeks to bring the characters and their feats back into the limelight. It is a noble assignment he has undertaken. I look forward to the completed program. I understand however, that it is proposed that annual salutes will take place following the initial celebration, on each occasion, venerable sports contributors of the past being honored.
Best wishes to MP Humes as he goes about recapturing the many elements of sports greatness that shaped Fort Charlotte.