To me Market Vendor, he is Sir Tony Cozier, the greatest radio and television broadcaster ever from the Caribbean, and the greatest in the world in his or any other era.
No other ever mastered all the diciplines –– radio, television and print –– in the way dat Sir Tony did.What a pity dat nobody –– not de Queen nor we Government –– thought it fit to honour this brilliant Bubbajan, Caribbean man and world citizen wid a knighthood. No other before he, and I suspect none to come in the future, gine offer the range and quality of Sir Tony’s work. He had de voice and de personality, de wit and de wisdom, de delivery, de timing, de nuances of tone, de drama, de excitement, de integrity.
Sir Tony was in every respect a class act all de way. Only de late John Arlott could come close to Cozier; but then Arlott didn’t master TV as well.
Cozier and Reds Perreira use to travel all ’bout de world commentating pun West Indies cricket back in de day when de CBU, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, use to struggle to put together de coverage of ball-by-ball cricket matches fuh audiences in the region. And it was Cozier and Reds Perreira who would undergo severe hardships and inconveniences to bring balanced coverage to de Caribbean and present some balance to otherwise biased cricket broadcasting by broadcasters in de “big countries”, especially when West Indies would pepper de opposition wid pace and beat ball wid bat!
Cozier took on de biases of de British and used their language to defeat them. He did the same to de Aussies when like de English they couldn’t tek de heat but wouldn’t stay out of de kitchen, and always he did it with grace and style; never offensive.
Sunday mornings will never be the same, because reading Tono, as he was to his friends, was part of the Sunday ritual of going to church, a big lunch and either sports or de beach pun a Sunday afternoon.
To any aspiring broadcaster, de word pictures he would paint were to be envied, this was a communicator of class, self-taught and in demand all over the world as much for his top-class commentary as for his insights, analysis and wit!
I well remember too de funeral service fuh de late PM David Thompson, and de team assembled by Vic Fernandes dat included Fernandes, Cozier, Dennis Johnson, Carol Roberts, Ronnie Clarke and others. Here was Cozier –– not at a cricket match –– but still outstanding at a state funeral service for a fallen leader.
In 1997, Sir Tony was inducted into the Caribbean Broadcasting Hall Of Fame. It was a signal honour to a world-class broadcaster. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines paid glowing tribute to him pun Capital Media HD 99.3. At times he choked up when speaking of this great man.
When Sir Tony was on the mic, even if the cricket was boring or slow, he had a way making it seem exciting, bringing an energy over six hours daily fuh five days to what would have otherwise been a boring experience. Listening to Tono on radio, yuh would immediately feel like you was in de Oval, ’cause he would describe it in ways dat mek it seem like it right in yuh living room. Dat was the essence of a great broadcaster.
What a pity it was dat we were robbed of Tony’s voice and insights in de region over dese past few years, his voice silenced not by an optometrist but but by a systems analyst.
Those of us who worked with this great man gine count weselves lucky to have met and interacted wid Sir Tony.
As PM Comrade Ralph said, somebody like Tony does come along once in a hundred years. I glad I came along at de right time to meet, know and work wid Sir Tony.
Rest in peace, Brother. You have set the bar high.
You are an Olympic and world champion; and when Bravo’s song is sung, it is not only de cricketers we sing ’bout, but you Tony Cozier, ’cause you were and gine always remain a world champion.
I Market Vendor gone fuh now. You have a blessed and a wonderful day, yuh hear?