Colin James

September 19th, 1966 – Colin Lesley Anderson ‘Tin tin’ James was born to Alfred and Tessie James (both from All Saints). Colin’s ‘navel string’ is buried in the Osborne, All Saints as his mother gave birth to him at home.

He began his early childhood education at Teacher Baby’s School in 1970 before moving on to Ms Walter’s School in 1971. In 1974, he enrolled in the then Christ the King High School (prior to the creation of St. John’s Catholic Primary) then on to the Antigua Grammar School (AGS) in 1978.

At the AGS ‘Tin tin’ was an avid sportsman, representing his school in football, cricket and track & field. In fact, it was thought by many track coaches at the time that he could have gone on to higher levels in several track and/or field events. His on field prowess in football was notable enough that if he had a more aggressive posture he had the potential to move into higher level, on field play.

As a child growing up, James recalls some of his fondest memories as going to assist his father at Robinson’s Service Station in Otto’s, taking his siblings to Deluxe Cinemas to watch movies on Saturdays following which he would take them to see football matches at Antigua Recreation Grounds and going to the Drive- In Open Air Cinema on Sundays. Family was an important component of his upbringing.

Though a popular name in the political arena these days, James has had quite a prolific career in the world of media and communications. He notes that his interest in media came as a result of his parents, especially his father, who consistently read and listened to the news. He recalls the house being ‘littered with newspapers, books, audio cassettes ranging from news, sports and current affairs’ and it was the norm to hear the sounds of local, regional and international news in the home. The nudge was also given by his teachers at AGS who encouraged him to read newspapers, especially British ones so he would usually visit the library to view them. He attributes his development in the area of journalism to men such as Dr. Clarence Henry, the late Louis Daniel, Tanny Rose, Everton Barnes, the late Everad ‘Egg’ Richards and Barry Stevens.

In addition to his extensive on the job peer training and guidance under the hand of outstanding sons in the field, Colin benefited from certified training from organisations such as UNESCO, CANA and the BBC.

His earliest years in media include working with ABS TV/Radio as a sportscaster (1984-1986), reporting part-time for EC News (1986-1990), working with the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) as full time Antigua Bureau Chief (1992-1995), functioning as the Sports and Associate Editor of the Antigua Sun Newspaper (1997-2001) and doing correspondence for BBC Caribbean Service (2000-2012). He also worked with the Observer Media Group as a freelance reporter for the Daily Observer and a sportscaster for Observer Radio (1997-2012) as well as with ZDK and Vybz FM as a freelance sports show host.

Commentating football with Seth Burton at YASCO. The late Cortwright Grant is the camera operator.

Other positions held by James over his working life include Industrial Relations Officer with the Antigua and Barbuda Employers Federation (1986-1992), Sales representative and Human Resource Manager AGA Distributors (1983-1997), Public Relations Consultant , Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (2006-2010), Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Sports (2014-2018) , Chairman, Development and Control Authority (2018-2020) and, his most recent posting, Commissioner of Sports which he assumed in 2020. He also owns and operates a media and sports management enterprise.

Colin pioneered the formation of the Antigua and Barbuda Media Congress, serving as the organisation’s first President from 2004 to 2013. He is also a founding-board member of Antigua and Barbuda Coalition of Services Industries and serves on the Education & Public Relations sub-Committee for the Task Force on Trafficking in Persons.

In sports, Colin has strong community roots as an administrator and organiser for football in particular. His foundation community football was with the Bassa Sports Club, on the field, on the Block and in community service. He had vivid memories of the sessions on the block with his colleague club members making future plans as part of the ‘limes’; there was also the foundation leadership developed under the hand of the Bassa seniors of the time, to include Shelly Hunte and Glenford Knight, during community service projects (housing and road repairs); and his on field participation with the football team in 2nd and 1st Divisions of the ABFA.

His professional life as a sports journalist led to his involvement in the Attackers Club (All Saints). While attending ABFA meetings in the early 1980s in his capacity as a reporter, he noted that the Attackers Team from his community was not represented at meetings. He started relaying the information to the players who were mostly school leavers at that time. By default he began to organise the team and eventually left Bassa fulltime to support the development of the Attackers team.

His current club Young Warriors (started in 1986), was born along similar lines. Many of the young men from All Saints who participated in the Shipwreck League in Grays Green up to the age of 15 years, had no follow-up opportunities. Thus, Young Warriors was created to fill that void. While the Club was his brainchild, his involvement in the organising of the All Saints Community League and the Attackers Club restricted his active involvement. He supplied uniforms etc., but left the active coaching and management to others led by Destin ‘Titiman’ Ralph. Overtime, he became the central and guiding force of the Young Warriors Club which has been a leader and stable force in youth football development including exposure via regional and international tours.

On national football team duties at the ARG 1989. Antigua & Barbuda vs Jamaica

Colin has served as Assistant Manager of the National Football Team (1989-1991). He has served as commentator for both football and cricket and has been among our most prolific sports journalists, with features receiving responses from across the globe. He has also served as a football referee when required during community matches. He has partnered with other distinguished writer King Franki and photographer ‘Bones’ Cumberbatch to produce the well received “Sports World” for the 1984 England tour of the West Indies. He has produced several other sports feature magazines highlighting cricket and football.

Outside of his professional life, James has always been an active member of his community specifically in the areas of activism, sports and culture. These passions would have been ignited in the home and kept alive through the influence of other community minded individuals such as the late Eustace Newton, Keith ‘Bordo’ Colbourne, Uriah Caleb and Starette Martin. This exposure to working in the community, he surmises, may have led to his progression into politics. He recounts that he always saw his own interest in sports as a means of relating to those with similar interests and he was always willing to pass on his experiences as well as help create opportunities for others.

Though approached on earlier occasions, James formally accepted the invitation into the political arena in 2013. He was appointed as Senator in the Upper House in the 2014 Antigua Barbuda Labour Party Administration, and was the party’s standard bearer for the Party in the All Saint’s East & St. Luke’s Constituency in 2018 where he lost by ten (10) votes. Currently, he is preparing to contest once again the All Saints East and St. Luke’s constituency on the ABLP’s ticket.

If elected, he hopes to boost development in the constituency through ‘job creation, educational advancement, better health care, improved housing opportunities; grassroots and elite sports advancement; more cultural and social prowess and overall a better standard of life and livelihood’. One desire he has is to establish a metal manufacturing plant within the constituency through the assistance of a registered investor from the Dominican Republic. This venture, he notes, would have a positive impact on the socio-economic conditions in the community as it would create long term employment.

James acknowledges that it will be challenging trying to satisfy the expectations of every constituent but points out that he is committed to doing his best. He posits that his humble upbringing has been instrumental in making him more empathetic towards the plight of the people and ‘the desire to reach out and assist someone, a cause, the community or the nation is close to my heart’.