2014 Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI April 2-5

QBR Count down briefing presentersThe BVI Olympic Committee, in its capacity as the local Commonwealth Games Association, launched the one-month count down to the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay. The baton and traveling team will arrive into the Virgin Islands from Anguilla on Wednesday, April 2. Two full days of public events and relays will take place in the territory on April 3 and 4 before the Queen’s Baton Relay departs for Jamaica on the morning of Saturday, April 5.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a special tradition of the Commonwealth Games which take place every four years. The ‘friendly Games’ unite the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace. The XX Commonwealth Games will take place this summer in Glasgow, Scotland.

The baton, which was specially crafted in Scotland, holds Her Majesty the Queen’s message calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to the Games. It is on its journey through 70 Commonwealth nations and territories, travelling 190,000KM over 248 days. Its journey is being reported on BBC News outlets.

The official public welcome ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay will take place from 9.00am – 10.00am at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park on Thursday, April 3.

The baton will then start its first leg of the relay through the Virgin Islands from the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park. It will pass though communities in Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda during the course of Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4.

The Premier will host a welcome ceremony in The Valley, Virgin Gorda at 8.30am on Friday, April 4.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a unifying event organized by the Commonwealth Games Association inviting members of the Commonwealth and the Overseas Territories to showcase their country, culture, hospitality, communities, and sports. This year, there is a focus on youth through a partnership between the Commonwealth Games Association and UNICEF.

“This is an occasion for all who reside in the BVI to come together in the spirit of friendship and unity,” said Ephraim Penn, president of the BVI Olympic Committee. “It’s the perfect opportunity to emphasize the Commonwealth Games message of friendly games and sports for all and to harness the current drive towards wellness and health for everyone and to encourage all to come out and take some exercise be it a gentle jog or a brisk walk.”

In an effort to reach out to the children of the territory, the Glasgow 2014 mascot named Clyde, after the river Clyde in Scotland, has been on a tour of some of the public schools earlier this year as part of a project undertaken in conjunction with Hertfordshire County Council

“The mascot was designed by a 12 year old girl and is based on the Thistle which is Scotland’s national emblem,” said Mark Chapman, Chef de Mission, XX Commonwealth Games. “We will be continuing to make presentations to schools on the Queen’s Baton Relay and the Glasgow 2014 Games during the next couple of weeks.”

As a key stakeholder involved in the planning process of the visit of the Queen’s Baton

Relay to the territory, the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports endorses the communitywide event:

“At the Ministry, we are doing our part to ensure active participation by our schools and that our youth organisations are at the forefront,” said the Honourable Minister Myron Walwyn. “As the Baton arrives [at] a time when our schools are on Easter break, I am urging all parents and guardians to allow your children to participate in activities scheduled for that day so that your child can witness and participate in this global ceremony.”

The public events and the relays are planned to pass through Road Town, Capoons Bay, Carrot Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, and the BVI Spring Regatta Village at Nanny Cay Marina on Thursday, April 3 and through The Valley, Virgin Gorda, East End/Long Look to include The Sticket, and culminate at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College on Friday, April 4.

A cultural presentation by traditional musicians, dancers and performers to include Scottish reel dancing will form part of the official closing ceremony HLSCC when the baton is returned to the Queen’s Baton Relay traveling team and the Commonwealth Games Association. The evening will end with a cultural tastings under the tent with samplings of food and refreshments from the BVI and Scotland on sale.

The full itinerary of events, baton route and times will be publicized closer to the arrival date through broadcast, print, and online media, as well as via the BVIOC Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media accounts.

Mr Rey O’Neil OBE, past president of the BVIOC and BVI Athletic Association and one of the territory’s sporting pioneers noted that Glasgow 2014 will be the seventh Commonwealth Games in which the Virgin Islands will participate, “Our first Commonwealth Games was at the Auckland 1990 games in New Zealand when one athlete went from the territory, Lindel Hodge. Lindel was the first batonbearer when the Queen’s Baton Relay first came to the territory in 2006.”

The Virgin Islands is expecting to send 8 athletes to represent the territory in Squash, Athletics, and Swimming at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games which take place from July 23 to August 3, 2014.

The last time the Queen’s Baton Relay toured the Commonwealth and Overseas Territories was in 2010 when the baton and traveling team visited the Virgin Islands in March of that year heralding the games in Delhi, India.

The key stakeholders involved in organizing the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay events include the BVIOC as the local Commonwealth Games Association and host of the Queen’s Baton Relay, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Premier, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (to include the Departments of Culture, and Youth Affairs and Sports), the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, and the BVI Tourist Board.