Ronald ‘Suki’ King, We Salute You!

World Draft ChampionIt is the month of Independence and many Barbadians will be encouraged to reflect on what mirror image we have of ourselves. A reading of BU blogs might suggest Barbadians should be concerned about the lack of leadership emanating from almost every facet of Bajan society.  The mirror image of ourselves which the father of Independence, Errol Walton Barrow, encouraged Barbadians to see when he delivered his famous Mirror Image Speech is as relevant today as it was when first delivered.

Let us use one example to show how cloudy the mirror of ourselves has become. Many Barbadians have started to question why perennial World Draught Champion Ronald (“Suki”) King continues to be treated by his own like the commoner he is not. Why is it he has to continue to wash cars to fund his many trips overseas to defend championships? Why is it he continues to  have to knock on the doors of corporate Barbados to beg for money? Why is it as a National Sports Council employee he has to ‘pull his pocket’ to buy Draught boards which he freely gives to school children or anyone interested in playing Draught?

Almost the eve of Barbados Independence; there is no better time to reflect why a Bajan who has made a habit of excelling on the world’s stage should have to wash cars and beg to support the effort. What we find incredible is the humility which Suki continues to display in the face of such wanton disregard by his own.

Of course we all know the answer lies in the fact the sport of Draught does not have the same mass-base compared to other sports and therefore does not attract the same publicity. What we as Barbadians should give weight to is to ask why Barbadians continue to refuse to acknowledge the excellence demonstrated over time by a son of the soil, mass-based or not.

Giving national recognition and support to Suki King should not be dependent on the popularity of Draught or the demographic of who is playing. It should be based on a simple reality; there is a sport called Draught which is played around the world and a Barbadian name Ronald ‘Suki’ King is the best the sport has ever seen.

All hail the King!


  • “DRAUGHTS ” is the name of the game

    discrimination against grassroots people

    sad very sad


  • @Sad very sad



  • This is a very good article.

    It highlighs marginalisaton by class!

    Yesterday, I sent you a piece on Rihanna that, I believe, should make most Bajans proud.

    Think it worth publishing?


  • It’s amazing that a few months ago, other blog relentlessly heralded the glory of a couple of unknown Barbadians who apparently won some type of competition in an obscure sport called BOBSLEDGE (It’s so obscure that I don’t know if I have spelt it right)

    Yet, Suki, a world champion, in a game holding second place to chess, has to wash cars.

    Suki, buy a bobsledge or polo horse.


  • @John

    Got the email, let’s see what we can do.


  • unfortunately coporate Barbados don’t seem to think they can get much mileage out of King Suki. His unfortunately does not carry the kind of international exposure of a Ryan Brathwaite or Obadele Thompson, so it seems not worth that much effort. Suki seems to be the only “people champion”.
    I would like to suggest that suki gets an account going where we can happily place monetary gifts for our world renowned draughts champion.


  • bajejunn,

    Good points.

    But I believe mileae CAN be made from ANY world champion if we are prepared to market him or her.


  • How about a company designing and manufacturing Draughts boards and sets.

    World champion Suki King can endorse them and make serious money.

    Draughts/Checkers sets are sold in stores around the world.

    More importantly, Suki King should be recognised for the world champion he is and at the very least, Government should pay him a decent salary to teach youngsters to play the game of Draughts.


  • @ Hants

    Welcome. You had a falling out with the fellows over at the “blog that should not be named”?


  • Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    @John Walcott // November 28, 2009 at 7:21 PM

    The sport is probably ‘bobsledding’. It is not obscure, but long featured in the Winter Olympics. Recall “Cool Runnings” the movie, and the Jamaican bobsled team?

    Barbados has tended to focus on a few sports to give its support, mainly cricket. Corporate or even personal support seems to come only for successes that seem to have a big international audience, but not necessarily. See COW’s late ‘band wagon’ support for Ryan Brathwaite.

    Personally, I see a huge devaulation and lack of appreciation for ‘national’ sports, such as draughts and road tennis, as a reflection of an aimless approach. Governments do not seem to have had any vision of really developing the nation as a whole across many domains that people could ‘own’, beyond universal education.

    But that lack of political leadership seems to have found a too ready partner in corporations who did see value in ‘selling’ such recognition of whatever domains in which the country excelled. Was it also the case that the population did not demand recognition of the many areas in which the country excelled. Take a look at what Barbados has been trying to ‘sell’ to the world since Independence and make your own conclusions.

    That said, happy Independence tomorrow. New Year, new dawn.


  • barbados is a biased place , very biased !
    sad very sad !


  • Explain why the Suki appeal can’t be exploited at the national level? As a company selling to the local market BU would welcome using the Suki brand which is 100% Bajan, the fundamentals of his brand is where as a country we need to go…PRIDE AND INDUSTRY laced heavily with humility.


  • I recall at least two ways in wich Suki King was shown appreciation for his skills. He was given a car by Simpson Motors (and I don’t beleive that he could drive, but I imagine that he sold it and got some money), and he was hired by the Ministry of Education as to go around to the schools teaching/coaching draughts (when Mia Mottley was Minister of Education). Poor Suki could not keep his appointments at the schools (he is not a morning person, apparently) so the Ministry soon dispensed with his services.

    Undoubtedly he has savant-like skills on the draughts board…but maybe he is downright unmarketable because of other limitations?


  • Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados

    There is no need to market the person, with or without flaws. It’s the achievements one should aim to ‘sell’.


  • @Paul Barnes

    With respect your position on how Suki is being treated says a lot. It may explain why the organizers of the Serena Williams tennis match in Barbados yesterday would have advertised a match but only 5 games were played. Why do we settle for the inferior stuff?


  • DJ, aka (LIB),

    I agree with you on that point.

    If the inference is that Suki has his limitations, well that may be. However, it is the skill that we ought to capitalise on and market.

    International superstars bring loads of baggage with them; yet their skills are marketed

    I believe that Barbados is currently loosing foreign exchange in not maximizing Suki’s skills.

    We shouldn’t wait until he becomes a “has been”


  • @Pat

    No fallin out.They haven’t banned me yet.

    However,I embrace the “Independence” and “FREEdom”to post where I like when I like.

    I read this blog as often as I read the “other” blog.

    Happy Independence to all.


  • Don’t care how any of you here try to cut it ….The Man is a GENIUS plain and simple. Can any of you triple up on this game simultaneously and come out on top?

    No hype! No PR Machine! Pure GENIUS!

    BTW,BU……Have you ever blasted him here on your banner like you are constantly posting some no-talented PR driven hype?


  • Suki King. A great sounding name to market.

    You crown the “kings” in draughts which become the most powerful men on the board.

    Suki King World Champion of Draughts.

    A Draughts set with a play book by Suki would be marketable in Europe and North America especially at Christmas.


  • @Hopi

    Guess who is the second person from the right on the BU banner?


  • Dennis Jones (aka Living in Barbados)

    @John Walcott // November 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM I would like to think that those involved with the game and Suki King would not be doing the silly thing of trying to reinvent the world. I have no idea if Mr King has an agent or if the game markets itself in anyway that would really appeal to newcomers or even old, well informed adherents. The bottom line is that it’s another series of opportunities foregone.

    Naively, I imagine putting on tournaments that could be ‘sold’ to tourists, with commentators able to explain the games, and discuss strategies and see outcomes. Nothing need be staged, but it would be culture and spectacle and entertainment. In the same way that poker, or backgammon, or bridge, or blackjack, etc. are marketed and televised in what appears to be a successful way.

    Am I thinking too far outside the box?


  • a country like barbados , government is obligated to develop its human capital

    sad very sad !


  • @David……….Now, now, now. Had you been posting him up high in your banner on a regular, I wouldn’t have to guess. And look where you stick him? Now dat en fair!

    So live up to your word AND

    Post him up there SOLO and more often!

    @DJ…….No! A head like that can NEVER think outside the box!


  • DJ (aka-LIB),

    i don’t know if you are thinking too far outside the box; but I do know that with time and effort, Suzi can be marketed!


  • Happy Independence day to all Barbadians.


  • Suki needs to put his name in the guiness books of world records and then you will see corporate barbados responding. Other than that, the government of Barbados do not give a rats azz about checkers because there is no glory in it foor them


  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: 43rd Anniversary of Independence

  • Congrats to Suki for retaining his title staged recently in Italy.


  • Congrats to Suki on retaining his world go as you please draughts title in july against sergio scarpetta of italy. Just for the record he is already in the Guinness book of records. In April of 1998 in Houston, Texas king played 375 persons simultaneously and won all the games. It was officially entered in the Guinness Book of world records in the 2006 issue.


  • Gordon Boney Julien

    I was just telling some of the best players in the Washington DC, MARYLAND and Virginia area about the Suki story so I Google to show them and also boast about BARBADOS. I started to read the story and immediately became depressed. I continued to show is picture because it is an awesome photo. I had the opportunity to learn from him in front the Theater. A very humbled human being.


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