Updated: Apr 6
The Queen’s Baton – the symbol of the Commonwealth Games – scheduled for Birmingham, UK this summer, has arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands to much pomp and ceremony.
The instrument arrived from The Bahamas Wednesday morning, in the company of that neighboring country’s national bearer, Clarence Rolle, who, during a brief ceremony at the Providenciales Airport, handed it over to the General Secretary of the local Commonwealth Games Association (CGA), Rosalie Ingham-Hall, who also has been named as the TCI Chef de Mission to the games. Ingham-Hall then passed it to President, Godfrey Been, who later passed it on to government officials during the ceremony.
Been told the small gathering that the organizers of the Games in Birminghan have given the Turks and Caicos Islands the thumps up for its seamless planning of the Baton leg.
“I must say that the Turks and Caicos was one of the most organized countries, according to Birmingham 2022,” Been said, adding that the local CGA has a surprise for the public, which would be revealed on Thursday.
Governor Nigel Dakin, who accepted the Baton from Opposition Member of Parliament Hon. Alvin Garland, said he was pleased that the TCI was one of the two billion people to which the baton would be travelling before returning to Birmingham in time for the game.
He also revealed that the Baton was manufactured about four miles from where he was brought up in Birmingham, saying that it would return to the venue of the game after travelling 90,000 miles around the world.
“And it would have gone through countries that include two billion people…that’s a quarter of the world’s population. And there are some surprises in this baton, for example, it has a 360° camera,” Governor Dakin said.
Premier Hon. Washington Misick, who accepted the instrument from the governor, pointed out that we were not only in a time of celebrating the events leading to the Commonwealth Games, but the Queen’s Jubilee as well.
“So, this is one moment as a Commonwealth family that we can be proud of,” Misick said, also commending the local CGA for its fantastic organization of the TCI leg of the relay.
“I am proud to be holding the most traveled baton in the world in my hand,” he concluded.
Minister responsible for Sports, Hon. Rachel Taylor, who received Baton from Premier Misick, gave kudus to the CGA and the Turks and Caicos Amateur Athletics Association (TCAA) for their coordination in planning the event. She also thanked the athletes who will be parading their skills at the Games.
She said for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local athletes had a humongous challenge to train and compete, but they stuck to the limited time afforded them to make the most of their training.
“For those two years it has indeed been a challenge, but our students (athletes) have shown that they have the fortitude to ensure that we participate in those three events…which will be track and field, swimming and cycling,” she said.
Tourism Minister Hon. Josephine Connolly, who accepted the Baton from Minister Taylor, encouraged the populace to come out and support the Baton runs as they pass through the streets of all the inhabited islands.
Jerrett Forbes, Director of Sports, stated that the planning for TCI leg of the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay, started a year ago. He congratulated all the sports federations in the TCI, especially the ones that will be participating in the Birmingham Games.
In the meantime, Government Member of Parliament Hon. Shaun Malcolm dubbed the Baton’s arrival as historic.
“As we celebrate the arrival of the Baton for the fifth time, I am elated as representative of the people of this country. I won’t be running, but I will be walking every leg of the race here in Provo and in Grand Turk,” Malcolm said, revealing that he would be heading to Birmingham in the summer for the Games.
Following the airport event, another exercise involving school children was held at the Cheshire Hall Plantation.
The baton travels every four years around the world to all the countries in the British Commonwealth, culminating with the Games in the place designated for its staging.