The Queen’s Baton, the official emblem of the Commonwealth Games, completed its tour of the Cayman Islands on Wednesday, April 13 after being celebrated with two full days of events.
The baton first arrived in Cayman on Sunday, April 10, where it was met at the Owen Roberts International Airport by His Excellency The Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper; the Premier, Hon. G. Wayne Panton and representatives from the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) and the Cayman Islands Commonwealth Games Association (CICGA).
On Monday, April 11, the baton flew to Cayman Brac, carried by CIOC/CICGA Secretary-General Mr. Carson Ebanks and was handed over to the District Commissioner Mr. Bentley “Mark” Tibbetts.
Baton bearers in Cayman Brac included Mr. Moses Kirkconnell, MP for Cayman Brac West and Little Cayman; and the Head Boys and Girls of West End Primary and Layman E. Scott High Schools. The Queen’s Baton was met with patriotic excitement by its residents and journeyed through multiple locations in the Brac, including through school campuses by junior athletes and into the historic Rebecca’s Cave. While time did not permit for the baton to visit Little Cayman, it was raised and pointed toward the smaller Sister Island to symbolise the inextricable link between the two. Students from the Little Cayman Education Centre were also able to see events happening in Cayman Brac via live stream.
In Grand Cayman, the baton was escorted by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Cayman Islands Regiment to an official welcome on the morning of Tuesday, April 12 at the Government Administration Building’s front steps. In addressing spectators, the Governor spoke about the history of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) as a precursor to the Commonwealth Games. The Premier welcomed attendees to the event and spoke to the baton’s hi-tech components, while Peyton and Mal’yka Morrison of Dreamchasers Cayman entertained onlookers with a special quadrille performance.
Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage, Hon. Bernie Bush noted the significance of the Queen’s Baton Relay. He said that “in participating in the local leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, we acknowledge our ties to the Commonwealth and reaffirm our commitment to send a national team to the Games with high hopes that they achieve the goals they set when representing themselves and our beloved Isles.”
Minister Bush then officially began the Grand Cayman leg of the relay by handing the baton to one of the official baton bearers, Skylar “Mimi” Ebanks (other official baton bearers include Kaeden Wright, Dr. Carl Brown and Dr. Ruthlyn Pomares). Mimi then passed it on to a team of athletes who carried it together to Heroes Square and the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority. The relay then continued to Miss Lassie’s House and then onto the Eastern Districts with stops at Theoline McCoy Primary School and Bodden Town Public Beach. After being cycled into East End, the baton was taken to Health City Cayman Islands, where it was met by healthcare professionals.
A special reception was held on Tuesday evening at George Town Yacht Club, where members of the CIOC/CICGA, Ministry of Sports and other stakeholders were able to examine the baton up close and take photographs. The baton itself is a technological marvel, featuring a 360-degree camera with cutting-edge design features such as atmospheric sensors and gadgetry that captures digital information at each stop. Such features allow the baton to be tracked during its travels and, in the spirit of the Commonwealth, unites its bearers in an unbroken chain across regions, continents and time zones with one common purpose.
The Cayman Islands leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay ended on Wednesday, April 13 with a tour that began at Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and went on to the Rum Point Dock. From there, the baton was taken across Cayman waters, made a brief stop at Stingray City, and was carried ashore by a Catboat to Barkers National Park in West Bay. The baton, being held by official baton bearer Kaeden Wright, traversed on to the West Bay Police Station, then Sir John A. Cumber Primary and finally to the Cayman Turtle Education and Conservation Centre as its final stop.
The Cayman Islands is sending its twelfth team of 21 athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England this summer where they will be competing in Squash, Track & Field, Swimming, Gymnastics and Cycling.
Jamaica is the next Commonwealth country to participate in the Queen’s Baton Relay.