‘Pilly’ full of advice for UWI students
by Emmanuel Joseph
Students attending the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) have been advised to live outside of the box.
The advice came last night from prominent Queen’s Counsel (QC) Andrew Pilgrim as he delivered the feature address at the annual students’ awards ceremony at the campus.
Using what he termed the “seven and a half rules of advice” that were punctuated by the Bajan vernacular, Pilgrim urged the scholarship awardees to “jump from de rock”.
“This has two interpretations. The first and the one that I want to focus on is taking a leap of faith sometimes. You can’t always take it easy [and] be extra careful. Now that I have passed my 20s, I still do certain things. I still play basketball at . . . a highly competitive level. But also do things just for the pure enjoyment of it,” said Pilgrim, who is also a leading theatre actor.
The senior attorney, who is a well-known comedian, recalled an adventurous moment in his life where he almost broke a leg, but suggested that “you got to live . . . . You got to do some ‘lil things beyond the obvious,” he added in his inimitable dramatic manner.
Another point of advice was “don’t fuhget to hollah fuh Alvin”.
He told the students that Alvin symbolized their neighbour.
“In this walk, in this life, you got to remember your neighbour,” he suggested, adding that neighbour was much wider than the person next door.
“In this case, it could be Barbuda, it may be St Maarten, it may be Dominica. So we laud the efforts tonight of those who are doing the work to show that they support the initiatives of our brothers and sisters as they rebuild our neighbours,” Pilgrim said to applause from the students gathered.
He noted that this also has a literal meaning. “You should know the people that live side uh you. Dem does look out fuh yuh . . . . Yes, they does malicious in yuh business too . . . but dem does look out fuh yuh. Probably dat maliciousness would keep you from behaving bad sometimes,” said the prominent actor, whose alias is Pilly.
“Yuh can’t eat de whole hand [of bannas],” was another piece of advice wrapped in the local dialect.
Pilgrim said this was about sharing, especially those who have much. He identified the scholarship donors as an example to applause from the awardees.
“The selfie with [David] Rudder . . . Rihanna, or enjoying the concert,” the QC continued, as he cited yet another piece of advice.
He explained that in an era where much of people’s lives were recorded, they still had to immerse themselves the moment “and skin wunnuh teet”.
Pilgrim noted that while there would be time for taking photos of oneself, it was important to look around and enjoy the moments of achievements.
“Get send to de shop regular,” he told the students as he continued his advice.
This was Pilgrim’s way of suggesting that they get out of the house and be involved in physical activities in a climate which was sunny all year round.
In expanding on this, he urged them to focus on healthy living.
“All this means is go outside and enjoy the fact that we live in a gym 365 days of our lives of every year. We can go outside and exercise, be healthy people . . . healthier than we are. I sang a song about macaroni pie and I like I regretting it now. The amount of pie I see people consuming when you go through Bridgetown right! . . . Everywhere you go in Barbados you could get pie, rice and baked chicken or fried chicken every day, and it ain’t the national dish,” he declared to much laughter.
Pilgrim even referred to a line in the song where he said he would take a half portion.
“Because you can’t overdo these things. We live in a gym and we have fruit on the vine, we got fruit on the tree . . . we got everything we need to live healthy lives and not “pop down” the Government income fighting the obvious diseases of which we are all likely to be proned,” the senior attorney warned.
He urged the awardees to note the “I ain’t know wuh you heard” advice. But at the same time, he cautioned them to avoid the “herd” instinct.
“Let us try to step out from the herd and try to be leaders. That does not necessarily mean you have to be a politician. There are other ways to lead people. You all are leading by your example here tonight. It means a commitment to doing more than what is necessary for you and yours to survive. It is a reason to do something a little more for those around you,” he said.
“Pick up dah sweetie paper,” was the sixth point which related to keeping one’s environment clean and avoid littering.
For what he called his “half-rule” of advice, Pilgrim drew from calypsonian David Rudder’s classic Rally Round The West Indies to tell the students that as Caribbean people, they have the power to influence change in the region.
“In these tiny theatres of conflict and confusion, better known as the isles of the West Indies,” he quoted from Rudder’s theme song for the regional cricket team to inform the awardees that each of them was capable of doing something to bring about change in a “broken” system.
Some 262 scholarships, bursaries and other prizes were presented.