Former national netballer and basketballer, Marion Johnson-Hurley, credits coach Adrian “Robin” Garnes“ (right) with her success in sports. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Adrian “Robin” Garnes never wore a police uniform, but he is as much a “member” of the Royal Barbados Police Force as those who do.

Just say the name “Robin” and he is revered not only by police officers but any player who crossed the doors of the Police Boys and Girls Club on Bay Street, St. Michael.

It was in his honour that the Fast5 Netball Tournament was hosted on November 17 and 18, by the Police Boys and Girls Club.

Police Inspector, Fred Clarke, explained that Mr. Garnes was being honoured for his long service to the Club since it opened its doors in the 1950s. He noted that the Force later opened Police Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Barbados, including in Speightstown, St. Peter and Greens, St. George but only the one at Bay Street remains today.

“I want to attribute the survival of that Club to Adrian “Robin” Garnes…. He was there from the beginning of that Club at Bay Street and it is the only Boys and Girls Club on the island. He is well known throughout the community and we want to honour him for the sterling work he has put in over the years…,” Inspector Clarke said.

The lawman noted that a number of great players emerged from under Mr. Garnes’ watchful eye and stern discipline at the Club. One such player is Barbados’ lone living National Hero, Sir Garfield Sobers.

During an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Sir Garfield stated: “To work with the Police has been a wonderful thing for me, and I am sure it is the same situation for Robin. He is a hard worker, [and] he put a lot into the game of basketball.”

The National Hero, who became famous mainly for his contribution to the game of cricket, noted that over the years he was approached by many other clubs, but remained loyal to the Police Boys and Girls Club.

“As long as it is anything to do for the Police and I am asked to come and take part I don’t have to know what it is all about. I just come. It is because of them that I have reached where I am today and I will never forget that,” he asserted. He added that Mr. Garnes was always there for him and supported him as he represented Barbados in the games of basketball, cricket, soccer and table tennis.

Athlete Marion Johnson-Hurley, showing her appreciation for former coach Adrian “Robin” Garnes“ while another protégé and member of the Police Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Karen Alleyne, looks on. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

For netballer and basketballer, Marion Johnson-Hurley, “Robin”, was a “father figure” to all whom he coached. In fact, she said when she first visited the Club and did not return because of his strict, disciplinarian ways, he sent for her and asked her to return. “I have been playing ever since and represented Barbados in the process,” she reminisced.

Acknowledging that it was an honour to do so, she attributed her success in the sporting arena to Mr. Garnes. “If I did not take up the offer and return I would not be here today,” Mrs. Johnson-Hurley maintained.

Meanwhile, for Mr. Garnes, it was “a great honour” to be recognized for the work he has done for the Police Boys and Girls Club over the years. Noting that he was there when the Club first opened, Mr. Garnes said he saw the entire structure change over the years. “We went from small to large. We had our trying times but we still survived,” he recalled.

He added that the Fash5Netball Tournament, held last weekend, could do a lot for the young people, especially those who lived in the area, to give them some motivation. “If you stick to something and you walk the right way you will succeed.

You don’t have to win games; you don’t have to win all the trophies. I never set out to win all the trophies. I gave opportunities to people who could not play and [we had] 98 per cent of children who could not play. Yet, if you go to the club now we have so many trophies that we don’t know where to put them,” he reflected.

For the father of one, playing a sport is more about discipline than ability. “I had to create discipline on and off the court. It was a teaching thing at the club. I used sport to teach people how to face life.”

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