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Was Arrow A National Hero Or A Man Of Excellence?

By Warren Cassell

Two of Arrow's children receive the National Hero award

Two of Arrow’s children receive the National Hero award

The Order of National Hero was just bestowed upon Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell posthumously.  It is the highest honour in the rank of all the other orders.

Achievements of Arrow:

 Hailing from the tiny island of Montserrat, the Mighty King of Soca, Arrow rose to prominence when he recorded the internationally acclaimed anthem of soca, “Hot, Hot, Hot” in 1982. Prior to his death, Arrow received many accolades. He was the first Soca Artiste to ever perform at the Reggae Sunsplash in both England and Jamaica; and to have sold over 4 million records of his hit song “Hot, Hot, Hot” long before Don Omar’s version, which had sold over 10,000,000 copies worldwide.  To use Christopher Martin’s words Arrow was “a big deal”.

Even after his death in 2010, his music continued to receive international acclaim. The cover version of “Hot, Hot, Hot”, recorded in 2013 by reggaeton artiste, Don Omar was honored at the annual Latin Music Awards organized by The American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP). The remake version, which is titled “Feeling Hot”, was singled out as one of the top urban singles songs in ASCAPS’s Latin repertoire in 2013 after peaking at No.22 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. Just last year, in 2015, another remake of his global hit single was recognized at an awards ceremony in the United States.

Does Arrow Deserve This Award Posthumously or Otherwise?

So when someone suggested he was not suitable for the Order of National Hero I was tempted to dispute this vociferously.  However, I decided to examine their statement while provoking your thoughts.

The National Awards Ceremony is based on the National Honours and Awards Act 2013.  That legislation provides for the establishment of four awards: (1) the Order of National Hero; (2) the Order of Excellence; (3) the Order of Distinction; and (4) the Order of Merit.

The Act also sets out the rank and order of the awards as follows:

The Order of National Hero is the highest award and is granted to a Montserratian who, by exceptional and extraordinary service, has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians.

 The Order of Excellence is awarded to a Montserratian—

(a) who, by extraordinary and unwavering commitment and devoted and distinguished service has contributed significantly to the development of Montserrat and positively projected its image; or (b) for exceptional achievements in any field or discipline at the national, regional or international level.

 The Order of Distinction is awarded to a Montserratian who— (a) in any field, has given distinguished and outstanding service; or (b) has attained remarkable achievement at the national level or made remarkable contribution on a national level.

 The Order of Merit is awarded to a Montserratian for meritorious contribution to national development in the field of arts, science, commerce, sports, education, governance, philanthropy, community service or any related area.

Was Arrow a National Hero?

The Act provides that the Order of National Hero be granted to “a Montserratian who, by exceptional and extraordinary service, has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians.” (my emphasis)

Let us break the criteria of the national award down.

  1. “A Montserratian” – this was not in dispute since Arrow was born on Montserrat to Montserratian parents.
  1. “Who by exceptional and extraordinary service” – surely Arrow gave exceptional and extraordinary service. Even the King of Morocco in the early 90’s flew Arrow from New York along with 66 Brazilian dancers to perform exclusively for him in his palace in Morocco.
  1. Has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians”This was what seemed to be in dispute. Despite the achievements of Arrow, could it truly be said that he had changed the course of Montserrat and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians?  And if so how?

“Oh he put Montserrat on the map!”, another person in the conversation said.  There was nothing to dispute in that; even I had written that he did in previous articles.  Nonetheless, what did “put Montserrat on the map” mean?  It simply meant that he brought a heightened awareness to the existence of this tiny postal stamp of an island to more persons around the world.  The course of Montserrat had not been changed as in the case of someone like William Bramble or even his son, Austin who was awarded tonight.

Was Arrow then a Man of Excellence?

 In my humble opinion, there was some merit to what the person had uttered. I will even go as far as to suggest that Arrow was more deserving of the Order of Excellence, which was supposed to be awarded to:

A Montserratian…for exceptional achievements in any field or discipline at the national, regional or international level.

His achievements were indeed exceptional in the field of music at a national, regional and international level.  I further discovered that according to section 8 (2) of the Act, the Order of Excellence cannot be given to a deceased person.  In fact, the Order of National Hero was the only award that could be bestowed posthumously.  So was this award given as a result of some lingering national guilt for not recognizing this great superstar? Did the awards committee feel they could compensate for this national miscarriage by awarding the highest award with apparently no merit?

 

While I commend the efforts to honour the accomplishments of our very own Soca King, I believe the nation dropped the ball.  Arrow did not receive his flowers while he was still alive. There are many others like Arrow who are befitting of the Order of Excellence, an award that cannot be given posthumously, so let us not wait until it is too late.  This should not happen again!

Warren Cassell is a Montserrat based Attorney-at-law, author and radio show host.  He may be contacted at warren@warrencassell.com

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Warren Cassell

Two of Arrow's children receive the National Hero award

Two of Arrow’s children receive the National Hero award

The Order of National Hero was just bestowed upon Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell posthumously.  It is the highest honour in the rank of all the other orders.

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Achievements of Arrow:

 Hailing from the tiny island of Montserrat, the Mighty King of Soca, Arrow rose to prominence when he recorded the internationally acclaimed anthem of soca, “Hot, Hot, Hot” in 1982. Prior to his death, Arrow received many accolades. He was the first Soca Artiste to ever perform at the Reggae Sunsplash in both England and Jamaica; and to have sold over 4 million records of his hit song “Hot, Hot, Hot” long before Don Omar’s version, which had sold over 10,000,000 copies worldwide.  To use Christopher Martin’s words Arrow was “a big deal”.

Even after his death in 2010, his music continued to receive international acclaim. The cover version of “Hot, Hot, Hot”, recorded in 2013 by reggaeton artiste, Don Omar was honored at the annual Latin Music Awards organized by The American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP). The remake version, which is titled “Feeling Hot”, was singled out as one of the top urban singles songs in ASCAPS’s Latin repertoire in 2013 after peaking at No.22 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. Just last year, in 2015, another remake of his global hit single was recognized at an awards ceremony in the United States.

Does Arrow Deserve This Award Posthumously or Otherwise?

So when someone suggested he was not suitable for the Order of National Hero I was tempted to dispute this vociferously.  However, I decided to examine their statement while provoking your thoughts.

The National Awards Ceremony is based on the National Honours and Awards Act 2013.  That legislation provides for the establishment of four awards: (1) the Order of National Hero; (2) the Order of Excellence; (3) the Order of Distinction; and (4) the Order of Merit.

The Act also sets out the rank and order of the awards as follows:

The Order of National Hero is the highest award and is granted to a Montserratian who, by exceptional and extraordinary service, has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians.

 The Order of Excellence is awarded to a Montserratian—

(a) who, by extraordinary and unwavering commitment and devoted and distinguished service has contributed significantly to the development of Montserrat and positively projected its image; or (b) for exceptional achievements in any field or discipline at the national, regional or international level.

 The Order of Distinction is awarded to a Montserratian who— (a) in any field, has given distinguished and outstanding service; or (b) has attained remarkable achievement at the national level or made remarkable contribution on a national level.

 The Order of Merit is awarded to a Montserratian for meritorious contribution to national development in the field of arts, science, commerce, sports, education, governance, philanthropy, community service or any related area.

Was Arrow a National Hero?

The Act provides that the Order of National Hero be granted to “a Montserratian who, by exceptional and extraordinary service, has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians.” (my emphasis)

Let us break the criteria of the national award down.

  1. “A Montserratian” – this was not in dispute since Arrow was born on Montserrat to Montserratian parents.
  1. “Who by exceptional and extraordinary service” – surely Arrow gave exceptional and extraordinary service. Even the King of Morocco in the early 90’s flew Arrow from New York along with 66 Brazilian dancers to perform exclusively for him in his palace in Morocco.
  1. Has changed the course of the country and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians”This was what seemed to be in dispute. Despite the achievements of Arrow, could it truly be said that he had changed the course of Montserrat and significantly transformed the lives of Montserratians?  And if so how?

“Oh he put Montserrat on the map!”, another person in the conversation said.  There was nothing to dispute in that; even I had written that he did in previous articles.  Nonetheless, what did “put Montserrat on the map” mean?  It simply meant that he brought a heightened awareness to the existence of this tiny postal stamp of an island to more persons around the world.  The course of Montserrat had not been changed as in the case of someone like William Bramble or even his son, Austin who was awarded tonight.

Was Arrow then a Man of Excellence?

 In my humble opinion, there was some merit to what the person had uttered. I will even go as far as to suggest that Arrow was more deserving of the Order of Excellence, which was supposed to be awarded to:

A Montserratian…for exceptional achievements in any field or discipline at the national, regional or international level.

His achievements were indeed exceptional in the field of music at a national, regional and international level.  I further discovered that according to section 8 (2) of the Act, the Order of Excellence cannot be given to a deceased person.  In fact, the Order of National Hero was the only award that could be bestowed posthumously.  So was this award given as a result of some lingering national guilt for not recognizing this great superstar? Did the awards committee feel they could compensate for this national miscarriage by awarding the highest award with apparently no merit?

 

While I commend the efforts to honour the accomplishments of our very own Soca King, I believe the nation dropped the ball.  Arrow did not receive his flowers while he was still alive. There are many others like Arrow who are befitting of the Order of Excellence, an award that cannot be given posthumously, so let us not wait until it is too late.  This should not happen again!

Warren Cassell is a Montserrat based Attorney-at-law, author and radio show host.  He may be contacted at warren@warrencassell.com