Queen’s Baton an Inspiration for Residents

His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian holds the Queen’s Baton. He is flanked by Kim Collins (left) and Jason Rogers.

St. Kitts, March 21, 2010 (SKNIS): The arrival of the Queen’s Baton Delhi 2010 in St. Kitts and Nevis on Friday (March 19) was celebrated by senior government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, visiting and local sporting officials and folklore groups as well as a large cross section of the population.

The Baton is currently making its way around the globe, stopping in each member territory of the Commonwealth. The 2010 Delhi Relay began on October 29, 2009 at Buckingham Palace in London when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – head of the Commonwealth – handed the Baton to the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

“Why all the fuss about this inanimate object?” Alphonso Bridgewater, President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Commonwealth Games Association asked, during a brief welcome ceremony at the R. L. Bradshaw International Airport. “As much as it is an inanimate object, it is probably something which inspires more life than people who are animated.”

He supported his statement by noting that the Queen’s Baton symbolizes the entire population of the Commonwealth which represents one third of the world’s population.

Minister of Youth Empowerment and Sports, Honourable Glen Phillip, said the Federation is honoured to receive the Queen’s Baton, which first visited the twin-island state in 2006. He noted that the Commonwealth Games are of tremendous value to members.

Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas addresses the gathering in front of Government Headquarters. The Queen’s Baton is seen on the left.

“Our young athletes are often motivated to achieve excellence in this event. Indeed our nation’s sport icon Kim Collins serves as an inspiration having made national history by becoming our first athlete to record a win in the 100 meters,” he said reflecting on the 2002 Games held in Manchester, England. “Two years ago in 2008, Jason Rogers, another Kittitian, provided additional evidence of the ability of our athletes when he captured a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India.”

“We in the Federation respect sports as a vehicle for the future development of our young people,” he emphasized citing the positives of “character building, community spirit and national pride.”

Similar sentiments were shared by His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Cuthbert Sebastian when the Queen’s Baton Relay traveled to Government House. Sir Cuthbert, himself a former athlete, expressed appreciation to all those involved that contributed to the global tour.

Special Olympic athletes and students from the Tucker Clarke Primary School then carried the Baton away from the Governor General’s workplace. When it arrived at Government Headquarters, a masquerade troupe (popular folklore dancers) created a celebratory atmosphere as Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medalist, Jason Rogers handed it off to the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas.

Special Olympic athletes and students from the Tucker Clarke Primary School run with the Baton.

“Our young people and our citizens dare to dream of what could be achieved by our own athletes in the future …,” he stated.

“The Commonwealth Games have been a wonderful event that has brought the member countries … to better levels of understanding, better levels of cooperation and the element of sports does it much better than any other set of influences.”

The Prime Minister noted that he will run with the torch on Saturday when it visits his hometown of St. Pauls. He encouraged residents to go out and run alongside the relay when it passes through their community.

The Baton, which has a built in camera, will visit a number of sites including the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the Cenotaph, the Berkeley Memorial (The Circus), Port Zante, and the public market. It will also travel to Nevis to chronicle the sights and sound of the island commonly known as the “Queen of the Caribbean.”

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