Where were the Roy­als?

The Compass - - Editorial -

I would like to add this com­ment to the con­tin­u­ous me­dia cov­er­age of the Royal St. John’s Re­gatta and its much boasted about 200th an­niver­sary this year.

By the time this let­ter is pub­lished (if it is pub­lished), the races will be rowed, the win­ners de­clared, the cheer­ing crowds sated of their hunger and thirst, and even the cleanup of the litter and mess done (hope­fully). Where, how­ever, was the roy­alty to grace this sig­nif­i­cant royal year event? The pub­lic was led to be­lieve it was highly likely a Royal would be pre­sent to hon­our us with a Royal Pres­ence for the 200th cel­e­bra­tion year. Yet no such Royal wor­thy ap­peared to watch the races with the hoi pol­loi of St. John’s.

It would be grat­i­fy­ing to know what ef­forts were made to se­cure a Royal Per­son­age to at­tend the 200th an­niver­sary of this rac­ing event which to any townie — well, most town­ies — is semi-sa­cred in the cal­en­dar, al­most as sig­nif­i­cant as other noted hol­i­days. Was a com­mit­tee struck of our po­lit­i­cal class and other lo­cal grandees and celebri­ties with a man­date to woo a Royal Re­gatta 200 bound? If not, why not?

The Royal brood has grown sig­nif­i­cantly of late. Could we not se­cure even — ahem — a Royal, if not from the A Team then maybe from the B Team or even the C Team? Maybe ask­ing the Queen her­self to at­tend (ap­par­ently, she and Prince Philip did at­tend the Re­gatta in 1978) was be­yond reach, es­pe­cially as she is very el­derly now. Prince Charles and all the other A Team Roy­als may have bet­ter things to do with their time (doubt it, though), but what of the ex­tended Royal Fam­ily which has now many mem­bers? Surely one of them could have been per­suaded to at­tend our Royal Re­gatta for a day out of their busy sched­ules.

I do not in any way blame the hard­work­ing peo­ple who bring the Royal Re­gatta to us every year. They do an out­stand­ing job — es­pe­cially fac­tor­ing in the weather vari­able. It is re­gret­table that their ef­forts were not re­warded with the at­ten­dance of a Royal Per­son of Sig­nif­i­cance. Such a Royal Per­son would also have at­tracted in­ter­na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion to our Quidi Vidi races.

I lay the blame, if blame is mer­ited, to our po­lit­i­cal class, who seem to ex­cel only in their in­ep­ti­tude. Af­ter all, they had plenty of time know­ing that the 200th an­niver­sary of the Royal Re­gatta was ap­proach­ing. I, for one, would like an ex­pla­na­tion from some wor­thy in po­lit­i­cal of­fice re­gard­ing why there was no at­ten­dance to our race event by a mem­ber of the Royal Fam­ily.

Well, the 200th Royal Re­gatta races are done and dusted. If it turns out the Royal Fam­ily sim­ply turned their noses up at at­tend­ing a mere colo­nial rac­ing event, then maybe we should re­turn to them the word “Royal” which was in­cor­po­rated into the name of the St. John’s Re­gatta in 1993.

If, more likely, the non-at­ten­dance is due to the bungling of our po­lit­i­cal class, then there is an­other race called an elec­tion at which the voter is the judge.

See you at the 201st Quidi Vidi Races — Royal or not — St. John’s! Robin Reid

St. John’s

“The Royal brood has grown sig­nif­i­cantly of late. Could we not se­cure even — ahem — a Royal, if not from the A Team then maybe from the B Team or even the C Team?”

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