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Sew Shivnarain Honored
Benefit Dinner Attracts 200 Guests

By John L. Aaron

August 22nd, 2008
Former Guyana and West Indies Test player Sew Shivnarain was honored last Friday evening at a benefit dinner at the Chateau Royale, in Richmond Hill, Queens. The very modest and low-key personality was toasted by some 200 close friends, relatives and cricket enthusiasts, not so much for his contributions to the game of cricket on the field, but for his contributions to the sport outside the realms of a player.

Pictures of the event. (Photos by John Aaron)

Glowing tributes were paid by several speakers, who recognized the affable former Test player as a person of integrity, selflessness, charity, and always pleasantly disposed to helping others, particularly younger cricketers.

Former West Indies Test players Joe Solomon and Leonard Baichan in offering their congratulations, noted the dedication with which Shivnarain approached cricket, with a willing desire to absorb as much as he could from the senior players of his time. Solomon, a former cricket coach to Sew Shivnarain shared anecdotes of watching Shivnarain grow into a very dependable cricketer, representing Guyana and later the West Indies.

Master-of-Ceremony for the evening was Krish Prasad, the New York Cricket Region’s representative to the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), and a personal friend of Shivnarain. Krish recalled several clashes with the quiet player from Albion, Berbice in Guyana, but throughout it all, respected Shivnarain for his steadfastness and resolve to make a worthwhile contribution to the sport of cricket, here in the United States.

USACA’s Executive Secretary John Aaron in delivering some keynote points in his address to the dinner guests, said that he was honored to be included in the circle of those who call Sew Shivnarain friend, because he (Aaron) jokingly thought that the recognition bestowed upon the all-rounder was certainly not for the 10,000 Test runs, nor the 300 Test wickets not recorded by Shivnarain, but for his loyalty to his native Guyana and the development of the sport here in the USA.

Seated at the head table alongside Sew Shivnarain and his lovely wife Chandra was Insaf “Birdman” Ali, the grand sponsor of the next day’s Twenty20 cricket tournament featuring the Guyanese counties of Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara. That cricket event was played in honor of Sew Shivnarain.

Boogie Shivnarain in recalling his older brother’s exploits as a national cricketer, said he was indeed proud of the many accomplishments of his brother, and how proud he felt while listening to the radio broadcast of a match in which the older Shivnarain was batting very well, and he (Boogie) proudly proclaiming to those around, that it was his brother who was “beating the ball.”

Among the many other speakers were local attorneys-at-law John Ragano and Kawall Totaram, who both extolled the virtues of their friendships with Sew Shivnarain, in Guyana and the USA, respectively. Guyana’s Consul General in New York, Brentnol Evans, acknowledged the many contributions of Shivnarain to cricket in Guyana, the West Indies and now the United States, noting the ambassadorial elements of the former player’s contribution to the sport, as a Guyanese.

The evening’s honored guest in his remarks thanked all those who braved the wet weather to attend the benefit dinner, as he recalled leaving Guyana at age 21 to pursue his life-long dream of playing for the West Indies and convincing his then girlfriend Chandra, now his wife of 36 years, to abandon her educational pursuits in Canada. Chandra, his wife returned promptly to the Caribbean to wed her sweetheart and has continued to support his cricketing quests ever since. The couple’s only daughter Bianca addressed the dinner guests, expressing her love and support of her dad’s contribution to the sport of cricket, while acknowledging that sometimes Sew’s love of the game and his friends took precedence over the family.

Sew Shivnarain was presented with several awards acknowledging his contribution to the sport of cricket. Among the awards were plaques from the Eastern American Cricket Association, Guyana-USA Cricket, Inc. and proclamations from the executives of Nassau County and others.

In closing, Master-of-Ceremony Krish Prasad thanked those who turned out for the wonderful occasion and the management and staff of the Chateau Royale, on behalf of Sew Shivnarain and the “Friends of Shiv Committee,” who organized the benefit dinner.
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