The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in St Vincent and the Grenadines today, marking the final destination in the Baton’s journey through the Caribbean.
In recent weeks the Baton has visited Caribbean nations and territories, including Montserrat, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Relay officially began its 294-day journey on 7 October and is currently visiting all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, bringing cultures and communities together in the lead up to Birmingham 2022.
When each Commonwealth Games Association hosts the Queen’s Baton, it organises an impressive schedule of events to celebrate their local heroes, untold stories, and sustainability efforts.
In Montserrat, Titus Frederick, Captain of the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades dance troupe, joined other community ambassadors in carrying the Baton at the peak of St George’s Hill in Plymouth, the nation’s capital, which was abandoned in 1997 following the effects of volcanic activity. The masquerade dance and groups pay respect and tribute to the people of Montserrat’s ancestors.
The Baton visited the Kalinago Territory in Dominica, which is a huge 3,700-acre district and home to an indigenous population. Lorenzo Sanford, Kalinago Chief, welcomed the Baton to the Kalingo Barana Autê village. In the karbet, a large hut where cultural and community activities are celebrated, members of the Kalinago population performed a dance to welcome to Baton.
At A. O. Shirley Recreation Ground, a multi-use stadium in the capital of the British Virgin Islands, the Baton was welcomed with a performance of the traditional comfoo dance by children dressed in colourful skirts. During the Relay, Albert Stoutt and his two sons Zacchari and Andrew all represented their country and carried the Baton. The Stoutt family is prominent in the local fishing community in Carrot Bay and fish in a sustainable way to preserve their environment and ecosystem.
In St Kitts and Nevis, Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Kim Collins, carried the Baton to SKELEC Solar Farm, which provides around one third of the energy needed to power the country, reducing their overall emissions.
While the Baton toured Anguilla, member of the community, Daphne Hodge-Connor carried the Baton to Bedney’s Well, which many families used to depend on for water. As a child, Daphne would have to walk barefoot along a dirt track to fetch water from Bedney’s Well for drinking, cooking, as well as to clean clothes.
The Baton visited Frigate Bird Sanctuary in Antigua and Barbuda, which is the largest Frigate Bird Colony in the western hemisphere and home to approximately 100,000 birds. Sprinter, Dwayne Fleming, and swimmer, Ethan Greene, both had the special opportunity to carry the Baton as it visited their home country.
In St Lucia, the Baton’s milestone 60th destination, Batonbearers visited Praslin Bay, a site where the Caribbean's first indigenous agriculture biotech firm is working to fight invasive seaweed, which threatens the tourism-dependent economy. The company’s founder Johanan Dujon represented St Lucia as a Batonbearer.
One of the many local landmarks that the Baton visited in St Vincent and the Grenadines was Fort Charlotte, which overlooks Kingston, the capital city. From the fort on a clear day, it is possible to see Grenada, where the Baton visited back in March. Youth athletes Darren Morgan and Marika Baptiste carried the Baton with pride during the Relay.
The Baton will return to England in June for a five-day celebration in London, which coincides with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It will then resume its international journey for four weeks, before once again returning to England for a 25-day tour in the final lead up to Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Stephen L Joachim, President of St Vincent & The Grenadines Olympic Association, said: “It has been such an honour to have a role in hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay in St Vincent and the Grenadines and to showcase our nation to the world. It was important for us give our younger athletes the opportunity to get involved and tell their own stories. I hope this has provided them with memories to last a lifetime.”
Albert Stoutt, local fisherman and Batonbearer from the British Virgin Islands, said “I’m really proud to have been selected a Batonbearer in my community and it was even more special to have been able to share the experience with two of my sons, Zacchari and Andrew.
My fifth son, Elijah, was a Batonbearer during the Delhi 2010 Queen’s Baton Relay making our opportunity this year even more meaningful.”
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “It has been such a pleasure to see the recent Commonwealth Games Associations show us their communities and traditions during the Queen’s Baton Relay. From the Kalinago community in Dominica to the Montserrat Masquerades, we have seen some really incredible displays of culture.
Now, with only ten nations and territories left before the Baton returns home to England for the final leg of the journey, I am so excited to see how the remaining hosts celebrate the Relay in their own way.”
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “The Caribbean has hosted a wonderful and vibrant leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay. The region has fully embraced the Commonwealth Games and we look forward to welcoming the Caribbean’s top athletes to Birmingham 2022 this summer.
The Baton has further raised the excitement and anticipation levels for the Games across the Caribbean as we move ever closer to the Opening Ceremony on July 28.”