It was with much sadness that I recently learnt of the death of Terence “Sallee” Markham. I do not know all the signposts of Sallee’s life but from my association with him, which started from about 1983 until his untimely death - he was a musician, cricketer, skilled carpenter, dare devil of a motorcyclist and a man whose love for fishing was infectious.
Sallee was from the Eastern Village of Harris’ Montserrat; the same village of cricket supremos Jim Allen, Fitzroy Buffonge, Desmond “Micey” Riley, Cedric “Buddha” Shield, Neville Kirwan, and his deceased brother Kharl Markham.
Over the last 40 years, Sallee formed a lifetime bond with Trevor “Duppy” Lewis. I got to know Sallee well when we worked together on Trevor’s Yellow Dyna pickup truck in the early 1990’s. We transported concrete blocks and other essentials to customers all over the island. He also played cricket for the Ghetto Stars Cricket Club, (my local club) around that period. On the cricket field Sallee was a fierce competitor. He was a bowler who could generate decent pace and steep bounce from his slim frame, which was over six feet in stature. He used to bowl from twelve steps which he referred to as, “the twelve steps of death”. He was a mean bowler. Fires burned in Sallee and you could always see the glow. Whether he was in bowling form or not, he wanted to get wickets or injure a batsman. Sallee played most of his cricket for the Harris’ cricket team, but we were glad when he joined our club.
Sallee also represented Montserrat in cricket. He played on the same team as me and his dear friend Trevor Lewis, with Lowell Mason as Skipper. He also played league cricket in Preston where he was much loved.
Away from cricket, Sallee worked at MS Osborne and the Port Authority in Montserrat for many years and was an accomplished musician. He toured globally with the likes of the Mighty Sparrow and played with several bands in Montserrat as a keyboard player. He also played in a band by the name of Reflex that featured Trevor Lewis, Denny “Scholar Bramble” and the late Jim Semper.
Sallee loved fishing and he spent countless hours on his boat fishing with Trevor Lewis with whom he shared a brotherly bond.
Sallee marched boldly and purposefully through the corridors of history, leaving an indelible imprint on the landscape of Montserrat, England, Japan, and the Caribbean. Sallee’s daring nature, charisma, self-deprecating humour, generosity, and humility transported him to heights which someone, even with his humble background, could not have envisioned. He loved motorcycles and was not only an accomplished rider but a fearless and legendary motorcyclist. Sallee was also a roots man who believed in the Rastafarian movement. It was in George Street, the spiritual home of the religious herb, that he would later form a bond with Kelvin “ Tabu” Duberry, the deceased Jimmy “ Nata” Lee and Horace “ Poko” Skerritt amongst others.
Sallee, moved to the United Kingdom a few years ago. He settled into Preston in the far north of the country. However, we kept in touch on a fairly regular basis. I recently saw him in January when I attended the funeral of John Ponteen. When I saw him, he was walking with the aid of a stick and did not look like the frightening fast bowler of an earlier era. However, he still had a sharp eye, and his native shrewdness was intact. Jovial in every way, Sallee also had deep convictions. Not simply that he was as good as anyone else - in his own field - he was better than most. Sallee’s “they are no better than we” did not have any particular application. It was a slogan and a song. The belief in country and self, “nationalism” to which all Montserratians should aspire.
Today we have lost a brother, a dear friend, a son, a father, a husband, a talented musician, sports man, an uncle, a nephew, and a proud Montserratian. His indefatigable spirit has left us at a time when Montserrat needs a voice of its own. In his lifetime Sallee was outspoken and gave us the feeling that this was possible.
We can rest, assured that he had great faith in the regenerative powers of the people of Montserrat who have shown resilience through the horrors of the volcano, and by extension the people of the Caribbean, who struggled through over four centuries showing strength and resilience throughout the sugar and cotton plantations, the brutality of colonialism - yet still managed to survive.
My condolences to his family and numerous friends, and in particular his son Terence Jr.
“Old man”, as your friend Trevor use to call you, may your soul rest in eternal peace safe beyond the stars in Gods promise of eternal life. May the flames of the Holy Sacrament continue to burn.
Editor's Note: Owen Ezad Roach is a Barrister-at-Law and Pan-Africanist.