Very few would have given Joseph “Reds” Perreira much of a chance of making it as a sports broadcaster and administrator. He stammered and he did not complete high school.
He also possessed infinite determination and an amazing ability to take risk, attributes that permitted him to overcome his speech impediment and become a rare Caribbean sports jewel.
Perreira started working at age 16 and immediately displayed his passion for sport which took him to several continents and enabled him to cover Olympic and Commonwealth Games and World Cup soccer and cricket tournaments and meet world leaders and top sports organization’s executives.
It was a dream come true for someone raised in rural Guyana and therefore fitting that his new book is titled Living the Dream.
“As I look back on my active life, I must recognize how fortunate I was to be able to see some of the very best perform at the highest level and at some of the most celebrated cricket venues in the world, not to mention the opportunities to meet inspirational personalities along the way,” Perreira, who now resides in St. Lucia, said.
“In one sense, I would have liked to have had a more finished education, but then I question that if I had in fact finished secondary school with enough passes to go on further whether I might not have chosen a different direction and ended up working in an institution in the region or in North America. If being more formally educated would have in fact changed the life and career I pursued, I would not choose it.”
Perreira launched his broadcasting career in 1968 with the then Guyana Broadcasting Service, co-producing three daily sportscasts and a mid-week lifestyle show, Nightline. He spent four years with the station before joining the broadcast circuit full-time and becoming closely associated with Tony Cozier, considered the Caribbean’s foremost cricket commentator.
“We have shared many good times, if not all fit to be recorded in these pages,” Cozier wrote in the book’s foreword. “I never fail to marvel at his enthusiasm and his zest for life, traits that are certain to be obvious as he commits to print the story of living his dreams.”
As a sports administrator in Guyana, Perreira coached Santos and the National Under-23 soccer teams and served as president of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Association, advisor to late Sports Minister Shirley Field-Ridley and National Sports Council chairman.
At the regional level, he was the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ first sports director and a former St. Lucia Amateur Boxing Association president and St. Lucia Tourist Board sports consultant.
“Reds is a quintessential Caribbean man with a rare but genuine knowledge and love for the smaller islands of our region,” said former West Indies cricket manager and St. Kitts/Nevis Tourism Minister Ricky Skerritt.
Six years ago, Perreira founded a sports foundation in his name to work in conjunction with Guyanese sports associations to provide training and equipment for coaches and athletes.
Perreira will launch his book in Toronto later this month.