Retired calypsonian Peter Adonijah Alleyne is adding his prayers to the many being said for his fellow entertainer and friend of over two decades, William Smokey Burke, who is warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) with an undisclosed illness.
Burke, who was scheduled to compete in tomorrow night’s Pic-O-De-Crop calypso final, was hospitalized on Tuesday, and was transferred to the ICU yesterday.
“I am praying as hard as I can for his recovery. I spoke to him on Sunday and he told me then that he did not think he would make Soca Royale because his stomach was upset, and that was the last time that we spoke,” Alleyne told Barbados TODAY.
“I was shocked of course when I heard that he was hospitalized and further moved to ICU. He is my good friend, man, and I am hoping and praying that he recovers and recovers well,” the soft-spoken Alleyne added.
The two go back a long way, and Alleyne is hoping that a story which Burke shared with him many years ago will come to pass.
“He told me once that when he was a little boy he was in Trinidad with his mother and an old Indian woman there told him that he would live to 113. That he would have an illness where everyone would think that he was going to die but he would recover and live to 113. He has always told me that. I was thinking that when he had the cancer that that might have been the illness, but I am over that now and hope that this is the illness where he would recover and live to 113,” a saddened Alleyne said.
The 1981 Road March winner was on stage as one of Burke’s props in last year’s Pic-O-De-Crop competition.
He had fun inside the on-stage house, Alleyne said, and those happy memories will last forever.
“Last year I was in the presentation of one of his songs, Persona Non Grata. It was a gaff, but it was really funny because myself, Serenader and Pompey had to stay inside of this house on the stage and we were having so much fun up there that we ended up telling Smokey to come inside of the house with us . . . . That was pretty enjoyable because that would have been the first time I was on stage with him,” the Rock In Ethiopia performer said.
However, Alleyne said he was saddened that he was unable to visit his friend at the hospital, having missed the opportunity to do so on Tuesday.
“He got admitted to a ward on Tuesday and I said that I would go and visit him the next day, and on Wednesday they moved him over to ICU and he has been there every since; and it is only family that is supposed to go in there. But as soon as he returns to normalcy of course, I will be there,” he said.
Burke’s longtime friend Colin Spencer will replace him at tomorrow’s calypso final, according to the National Cultural Foundation.
“The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has officially advised that Colin Spencer will replace Smokey Burke tomorrow night at the Courtesy/Mount Gay Pic-O-De-Crop Final at Kensington Oval. Smokey is unable to perform due to illness…. The NCF joins with the country in praying for his speedy recovery,” it said in a statement today.