Fayola KJ Fraser
Embodying the lively and exciting nature of the sporting world in his person, Gyasi Merrique energetically presents the exciting developments in sport for the CNC3 7 pm newscast. An expert and a lover of all things sport, Gyasi has been covering sport news in some capacity for over 15 years.
Although Merrique moved around various parts of T&T as a child, he considers himself, at the core, a true country boy at heart, his family hailing from Sangre Grande, Manzanilla, and Guayaguayare. During his childhood, his parents remember him being drawn to sport from early. At two years old, when he would go walking with his mother or father, he would try to pull away from them and run off to kick, throw, or catch the ball, intervening in the games of older children. From boyhood into young adolescence, he played cricket and football and ran track and field. As a Queens’ Royal College alum, his time at the school was filled with daily sporting activities. However, playing sports wasn’t the only thing on his mind at that time. His teachers recall even today that he used to deliver running commentary on sport activities during Physical Education class, regaling classmates with his take on the events.
At the end of his secondary school career, Merrique “quickly realised that it was obvious I may not have been good enough to play sport at the highest levels”, and acting upon advice from the then principal of QRC, he began to seek out opportunities in the media, through the QRC “Old Boys” Association. An on-the-job training opportunity presented itself, and he was hired to work at the Gayelle station in operations, learning to manage camera operations, sound, editing, and set design. This period was pivotal in his foray into the media, provided useful foundational tools for Merrique, and he grew to love it. Even now, many years later, he still has the range under his belt, and can “grab a camera if there’s no cameraman available” and independently cover stories if needed. After a few months in operations, he was recommended to the Head of Sport at the station, who took him under his wing to learn to write sport.
Merrique’s career as a sport reporter blossomed, and after two years in the sport department at Gayelle he moved onto CNC3 as a sports reporter in 2009. It is easy for Merrique to remember his most iconic story during his career at CNC3, which was his interview with cricket legend Brian Lara. On that memorable day, Lara had convened a T20 legends cricket match, and Merrique went to cover the match on his own, without a camera operator, utilising his skill learned at Gayelle. Although he initially kept his distance, not wanting to disturb Lara, when Lara beckoned him to come over, he went, armed with his camera and microphone, and did the interview while Lara was practising his batting. “It was the most natural, genuine conversation,” Merrique remembers, “he let me ask him any question I wanted.” Merrique, however, did not stray too far from the game at hand, questioning Lara about his entry into this new iteration of cricket–T20–the experience and adjustments he made.
It is not surprising that Merrique’s favourite pastimes include both playing and watching sport. He considers himself a “true lover” of sport, meaning that none escape his fancy. Football is his favourite sport to play, as he has played it the longest, even trying out for a semi-professional team in his younger years. However, his favourite sport to watch is volleyball. “It’s a really engaging spectator sport,” he says, “and there’s high-octane action from start to finish without many low points.”
At present, as a Senior Multimedia Journalist and the CNC3 sport anchor, he takes the task of keeping abreast of developments in the sport world very seriously. He considers it crucial to have as much knowledge as he can of sporting events and matters ahead of disseminating that information to the public.
Merrique also engages in reporting on culture and events and enjoys attending fetes, concerts, and shows in that regard. His cultural roots run deep, as his grandfather was a well-known calypsonian, D Surpriser, who was, at the time of his passing, the oldest calypsonian in T&T. Merrique’s brother Ozy Magiq is one of this country’s pioneers of rapso music.
Merrique hopes to encourage young boys and men in T&T to strive for excellence and seek and find opportunities. Many people along his path have made space for him and extended a helping hand, which has allowed him to achieve so many things he only once dreamed about. He not only enjoys his job, as he gets to dive deep into his beloved sport every day, but he also enjoys the platform it gives him to inspire other young men who may have had trouble finding their way, to know that there will always be an opportunity to make it and achieve a successful and enriching career path.