“Not all heroes wear capes” is a phrase we’ve heard quite a bit during this pandemic. It often describes our dedicated and hard-working frontline soldiers, who have been tasked with ensuring all of us are safe and as much as possible, free from COVID-19. We caught up with another non-cape wearing Superman by the name of Daren Sammy.
Since being released from quarantine, the island’s international cricket star has been on a mission to make the lives of our frontline workers, students, and members of the community where he grew up a little easier during these trying times. We were able to score two boundaries with the local legend who also gave us some insight on C.P.L.
VOICE: Where were you when you first learnt about the Coronavirus and what measures did you put in place to safeguard yourself and your family?
Daren Sammy: I was in Pakistan playing the PSL, and so my wife Cathy was in charge at home and she was very proactive in her approach by staying at home and adhering to what the authorities were saying. I too, did the same.
VOICE: While in Pakistan, what did you have to do to remain safe and how different was it compared to when you landed back home?
Daren Sammy: Firstly, the league had the games inside closed stadiums to the public then they canceled the entire tournament. Every player was tested before leaving Pakistan and no one had the virus. I was extra careful whilst traveling and upon arriving home I was self-quarantined for 14 days. The difference was I was now home with my family with less people around me, which was great. But all the quarantine guidelines were followed at home. And it seemed like my wife really educated the kids on what to do because they were staying far from me.
VOICE: Covid-19 brought to a halt all major sporting competition, including cricket. It looked like our Zouks would have had a stellar year with some of the rumours the mill was churning. What was the mindset around the organization for CPL 2020 before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of tournaments worldwide?
Daren Sammy: I was the player coach of the PSL, then was made head coach of Peshawar Zalmi while St Lucia Zouks had new owners – we were putting a great team together. We acquired Andy Flower as head coach and had already signed and retained some very effective players. As you know, we also acquired Chris Gayle from Jamaica. I’m still hopeful that the tournament will go on in August and Zouks can unleash their players and have a great C.P.L.
VOICE: How have you been dealing with the impact of COVID-19, especially now that you are the Peshawar Zalmi head coach?
Daren Sammy: Well, there’s not much you can do now. We all are at our homes now and my next possible tournament is the CPL, in which I’ll be a player, so my preparation is based for playing. But Covid-19 is affecting that too because there is no access to grounds and gyms so I try to stay physically fit by doing stuff at home. I stay in constant dialogue with the franchise owners and the league for updates on the tournament.
VOICE: Through the Daren Sammy Foundation you have positively impacted the lives of many young, brilliant Saint Lucians and their families. COVID-19 has threatened the livelihood of all of Saint Lucia and students are no exception. We saw through social media that you were on a mission to ensure that as many students as possible didn’t miss out on classes. Tell us about the recent donation of laptops to the Ministry of Education.
Daren Sammy: The laptops were from the Foundation as I had already sourced them. The Daren Sammy Foundation normally rewards the top two academic performers of the year with laptops. The Foundation’s role has always been about helping underprivileged students through education and sports. Covid-19 has put an added strain on everyone, and our school system has been severely affected. So, with the new method of teaching online, I reached out to my scholarship recipients to see if they were equipped to do the online schooling and they all said yes. I also heard the Ministry of Education asking for devices to help the students so D.S.F donated a few brand-new laptops to help the students.
VOICE: The island has been through much unfamiliar terrain since our first confirmed case. We’ve seen people wait for hours on lines to purchase groceries and others wait on care packages to be delivered. We understand that you made a delivery of care packages as well. Give us some insight on that.
Daren Sammy: I think the heroes of this pandemic firstly are the frontline workers risking their lives to make our country safe. And with the shutdown and the rush at the supermarkets, these same people hardly get time to look after themselves. So, I thought I’d play my part to help ease their stress by getting the evening shift at St Jude’s hospital their groceries. I must say thanks to the New Dock manager at Massy Vieux Fort for his assistance. I had no problems getting the groceries. They were surprised but appreciated it and that made me feel good. The thing is, when I do help, I want it to go directly to the persons affected, that’s why you see me personally getting involved. I read somewhere to make a difference you don’t have to be rich, brilliant, beautiful or perfect, you just simply have to care. And I do care. I won’t be able to help everyone and I’ll say no I can’t as well sometimes. But I do try when there’s a need.
VOICE: We also understand that you went grocery shopping for our front-line soldiers in the south of the island. How was the gesture received?
Daren Sammy: I went grocery shopping for the people in the community of Dugard, where I was raised. This covid-19 is affecting everything and everyone in some way. I had someone from the community identify persons who really needed the assistance and I played my part. They were so happy, and that makes me happy as well.
VOICE: We have seen first-hand the various households who have benefited from hampers and scholarships from the Daren Sammy Foundation. Some people we see are satisfied with just having a chat with you. With that in mind, what advice can you offer to our people on staying safe during this pandemic?
Daren Sammy: It’s important that we continue to adhere to the precautionary measures put in place. We’ve seen how deadly this virus can be. It’s up to us as a people to fight this together and show some appreciation to the frontline workers by not putting ourselves at risk. Let’s make their jobs easier. It’s a tough time for everyone and yes some people are better equipped to handle this pandemic, so like I said, we all can make a difference by just caring for a brother or a sister in whatever way we can.
I will continue trying to help where I can and also using my voice to inspire in whatever way, It’s only together we can overcome this because covid-19 doesn’t exempt the rich, poor, white, black, Indian, politicians, or doctors.