Acting Prime Minister Errol McLeod told the Trinidad Express yesterday that the national community should observe a minute’s silence for former two-time World Youth Cup player Akeem Adams, who passed away yesterday in Budapest, Hungary.
Unquestionably, the Trinidad and Tobago Government has taken the lead on this initiative. There were virtually three months of silence from McLeod and his Cabinet colleagues while the 22-year-old Adams fought for his life at the Varosmajori Heart Clinic.
Photo: Ferencvaros pays tribute to its former player Akeem Adams.
Adams’ employer, Ferencvaros, met all the Trinidadian’s medical expenses but his mother, Ancilla Dick, had to relocate to Budapest to lend emotional support and approve the medical procedures necessary to give her son a fighting chance. Dick, who is a domestic worker by profession, needed groceries, winter clothing and a living allowance and the family pleaded for financial assistance.
But, when Adams needed them most, McLeod and company were rehearsing for their minute’s silence. And the Prime Minister who offered the nation discounted rice, oil and flour for Christmas never thought to give Dick and Adams a few TSTT phone cards to help the humble Point Fortin family communicate during this traumatic time.
“As a father I cannot begin to imagine the grief and despair his family is feeling in these difficult moments,” said Sport Minister Anil Roberts, via a press release. “Akeem was a talented young man who (…) stood as an example to many on how fully utilise all the gifts and talents bestowed on him by the Creator.
“He even faced his final challenge with an optimistic spirit and kept up the fight, right until the end.”
Photo: Former Ferencvaros coach Ricardo Moniz (right) and a player pay tribute to Akeem Adams before a league game.
Roberts certainly never thought of Adams as his son, though. The Sport Minister flew all the way to Barcelona to cheer on his swimmer, George Bovell III, from poolside in Barcelona, Spain last August. But he never thought of repeating his voyage to Europe to offer a word of encouragement to Adams.
Instead, Adams’ then Portugal-born coach Ricardo Moniz visited him daily to help keep his spirits up.
“I am very sorry about the death of someone who has contributed so much to the sporting world and life of this country,” Point Fortin MP and PNM member Paula Gopee-Scoon told the Trinidad Guardian, “and he must be recognised for that.”
Goopee-Scoon told the Guardian that she planned to visit Adams’ family yesterday to offer condolences to the grieving family. But where was she with her comforting words and recognition of Adams’ sporting achievements when the family was desperate for hope?
Photo: Akeem Adams (left) represented Trinidad and Tobago at World Youth Cup tournaments in the Republic of Korea and Egypt.
When former Barcelona football star Deco, who has never met the “Soca Warrior”, auctioned his Fluminese jersey to raise funds for the Trinidadian, where were Adams’ compatriots? (Barring, of course, the farcical fund-raiser done by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and Native Spirit).
Perhaps the most appropriate State tribute for Adams came from the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, which is mandated to handle the nation’s interests in Hungary.
Ambassador Margaret King-Rousseau and her staff did not say a word to the family or the public; just like they had failed to do for the last three months while a young man who flew the Trinidad and Tobago flag for the last seven years on four different continents battled against the odds with a mechanical heart.
Eastern Europe is not well known for its tender treatment of non-white guests. Yet if not for Ferencvaros, Adams would not have survived long enough to spend Christmas with his mother and brother, Akini Adams.
Photo: Ferencvaros paid glowing tributes to Akeem Adams although the Trinidadian only represented the club for a month and a half.
Ferencvaros will foot the bill to transport Adams and his family back home for the funeral too. Then, it will be time for Trinidad and Tobago to show some love for its departed son.
From the looks of things, Akeem Adams will not be short of wailers in jackets and ties and designer dresses. Politicians appear to have loved him more dead than alive.
When Adams suffered a tragic heart attack on September 24, doctors did not feel he would last the weekend. Instead, he fought long enough to be joking around his family on Christmas and Boxing Day.
For those who did more than just promise to say a word of prayer, Wired868 salutes you.
Rest in peace, Akeem Adams.
Editor’s Note: Click here to enjoy a beautiful, brief video tribute to Akeem Adams by his former club, Ferencvaros. And here is another clip of Budapest paying its respect to the Soca Warrior.