St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Today (March 9) marks 50 years since Nevisian cricketer Elquemedo Tonito Willett (MBE) broke barriers by becoming the first person from the Leeward Islands to make it to the West Indies cricket team.
Willett, a slow left-arm spinner, debuted as a 19-year-old against Australia in 1972-73.
His cricket career spans 50 years, from local to Masters Cricket level tournaments.
Besides playing cricket, Willett coached most primary school students on Nevis and ended his coaching career at the Charlestown Primary.
The island of Nevis has commemorated their hero in multiple ways, including;
- a bust and an exhibit of Willett in the Nevis Sports Museum
- the once-called Grove Park was renamed the Elquemedo T. Willett Park in 2010 in his honour
- in December 2017, Willett was knighted, being awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
- in December 2022, he was given the Gold Jacket from the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) for distinguished service to Leeward Islands cricket, on and off the field.
- And most recently, he was named as one of the Son’s of Nevisian cricket in Nevisian journalist and social commentator Stevenson Manners’ book ‘The Father, Son & Offsprings – The Enchanting Story of Nevis Cricket, 1945-2023.’
The Nevis Cricket Association will host a gala honouring Willett’s contribution to cricket on Nevis and the West Indies on March 9.
The Minister of Sports in the Nevis Island Administration, Senator Troy Liburd, presented a $50,000 donation to the Cricket Association to host the gala in Willett’s honour.