2014 Queen’s Baton Relay – Full Report

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay through the Virgin Islands

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton and traveling team arrived into the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport from Anguilla on Wednesday, April 2, and departed for Jamaica on the morning of Saturday, April 5 following a successful, two-day tour of Tortola, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda.

The BVI was the 53rd country of the 71 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories to be visited by the Queen’s baton on its journey round the globe to herald the XX Commonwealth Games, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 – August 5, 2014. The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the local Commonwealth Games Association hosted the visit.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was launched on Thursday, April 3 when the baton was officially presented to the people of the Virgin Islands at an opening ceremony at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park. The park thronged with people of all ages and nationalities in a true representation of the cultural mix that makes up the population of the islands. The rousing beat of the drums played by the Seventh Day Adventist Drum Corp set the mood and tone for the historic occasion as the VI Cadet Corp marched in the Union Jack, the Territorial Flag, the Saint Andrew’s Cross, and the Commonwealth Games Federation flag signaling the start of events.

The baton made its entrance in the hands of Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, Regional Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Federation followed by a procession of past Commonwealth Games participants, which included Steve Augustine, Karl Scatliffe, Dion Stoutt,  Joe Chapman, Ralston Henry, and Roger Mathavious.

Welcome remarks were shared by MC, Mr. Lloyd Black, Secretary General, BVIOC, Governor Boyd McCleary, Acting Premier, Dr. The Hon. Kedrick D. Pickering, Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC, The Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister for Education, Culture and Sports, Mr. Louis Rosa, QBR Team Leader, and Mr. Rey O’Neal. The programme included an invocation by Bishop John Cline and notable performances by vocalist Ms. Deanna Wattley, saxophonists Mr. Kamau Georges and Mr. Dalan Vanterpool, and Mr. Robert Christie who played the Scottish bagpipes in a representation of the Commonwealth Games host country for 2014.

Steve Augustine was the first baton bearer for the territory and received the baton from Hon. Myron Walwyn before passing it on to Tarique Moses accompanied by siblings Tarika and Leroy, and the Rugby Federation. The relay made its way through Road Town and Lower Estate in a succession of passes to baton bearers including Ms. Roslyn McMillan of the BVI Bank Association, with Beyonce Defrietas, Akeem Bradshaw, Chaz Fahie and the BVI Athletics, and Volleyball Associations; and Mr. Kyron McMaster with Ariana Hayde.

Governor Boyd McCleary in the company of his staff, Ms. Karene King, Mr. Joe Kneipp, the Squash, and Triathlon Federations; Acting Premier Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering with staff from the Premier’s Office, and Joe Chapman, and Judine Lacey; Mr. Guy Hill, who ran with his children, Taylor and Joshua, and the Football Association; Hon. Mark Vanterpool and field athletes, sisters Trevia and Tynelle Gumbs with members of the Taekwondo and Softball Federations; Roger Mathavious and his sons, Dominic and Dalan; Mr. Ryan Geluk, Rotary of Road Town, and Eric Brathwaite; young tennis player, Paul Oliver with Lawn Tennis Association members, and L’t’sha Fahie, Xiomara Malone, Diamante and Dijimun Gumbs.

Paul handed over the baton to Hon. Delores Christopher at the entrance of the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground who passed it on to Hon Myron Walwyn. The Road Town leg ended with a lap around the track at the grounds with Hon. Walwyn leading a procession of special needs children and adults, Special Olympics, primary school students attending the DYAS Easter camp programme, and track club team members. The numbers at the grounds swelled with participants who had joined in the relay at various points along the route including Governor McCleary, national federation members for Rugby, Athletics, Volleyball, Squash, Triathlon, Football, Softball, Taekwondo, Tennis, and Swimming, Fire and Rescue, and the general public.

The Queen’s baton was then driven to Capoon’s Bay where young baton bearers, Shaquor Gumbs, Kimiya Matthais, Kayanna Parsons, Angelika Washington, and Izara Frett in the company of Hon. Andrew Fahie took the baton in a relay through to Carrot Bay. At Cane Garden Bay the baton was passed between Mr. Simon Potter of Roadtown Wholesale, Tafara Phillip, Mr. Ellie Henley, Pastor Melvin Turnbull, Mr. Henry Creque, Rotary of Tortola, and Quito Rhymer who handed over to Giselle Archibald Bowers of the Swimming Federation. Giselle bore the baton in a dingy driven by Eben Meyers whilst young swimmers swam along side waving BVI flags.

The RVIPF Police launch moved swiftly with the QBR team to Jost Van Dyke where Foxy Callwood OBE, hosted a lunch and regaled the guests with a tale or two before a young team from the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society snaked along the beach to the Tortola sloop, Endeavor II for photos aboard the vessel.

The baton returned to Tortola with a final stop at the BVI Spring Regatta Village at Nanny Cay Marina where Optimist sailor, Thad Lettsome bore the baton aboard the Tortola Sloop, Intrepid as it sailed into the beach flanked by the BVI Optimist sailing team. Glenford Gordon, Athens 2011 Special Olympics sailing silver medalist, received the baton from Thad before presenting it to Bob Phillips of the BVISR and Miles Sutherland-Pilch of Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

Governor Boyd McCleary and Mrs. McCleary hosted a reception for the QBR team at Government House that evening where a steel pan band, Moko Jumbies, and Scottish reel dancing entertained guests. The BVIOC also recognised specially invited guest, Commonwealth Games squash gold medalist, Joe Kneipp and congratulated 11 year old, Keshawn Carey from First Impressions Primary School, as the winner of a Facebook BVIOC Glasgow 2014 pin design contest.

An early start to Virgin Gorda aboard HM Customs vessel and the RVIPF Police launch took the QBR team, media and guests to attend a welcome ceremony hosted by the Premier at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. Following an invocation by Pastor Gregory George, brief remarks were shared by Acting Premier Dr. the Hon. Kedrick D. Pickering, Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, and Mr. Anjel George. Miss Lalani Stevens, the Bregado Flax Educational Centre After School Programme and the Robinson O’Neal Primary School presented musical performances.

The enthusiastic Virgin Gorda community came out in force despite the rain and took part in relays through the Valley and to the Baths.  The baton passed from the Acting Premier to Junior Tourism Minister, Shea Alexander, and the Football Club; Hon Archibald Christian, and students from Virgin Gorda; Chef Arique Flax; Kyle Harrigan and Rotaract Club; Bucks Food Market, and Little Dix Bay Resort; Khalid Stevens of the Leo Club; the Fire Brigade; Deborah Bruce, and the Cancer Society team; Victor & Victorix Sports Champs; the Carnival Queen, Calypso Queen, and Lenford Pope, Athens 2011 Special Olympics sailing silver medalist; Robinson O’Neal Primary School; St Mary’s Primary School; and Erwin Telemaque of Raw Skillz Sports Club.

The relay ended with scenic shots taken at the Baths, the Copper Mines, and Necker Island. A nautical tour of the North Sound concluded the visit to Virgin Gorda before heading back to Trellis Bay, Tortola.

The final leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was cycled from Trellis Bay to East End-Long Look where the baton was passed along the route to the final destination at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The baton went from Mr. Dean Greenaway, president BVIAA to Hon. Marlon Penn; Khiry Creque; Steve Asson; Financial Secretary, Neil Smith; Dion Crabbe; Nelda Huggins; Kaleed Pickering with Dr. the Hon Kedrick D. Pickering and the Lawn Tennis Association; the Cycling Federation; and to Janette Brin of CCT, and the HLSCC, Faculty and staff for the last run of the BVI tour.

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay officially ended with the return of the baton to the QBR traveling team at a brief closing ceremony with remarks by Hon. Myron Walwyn, Mr. Ephraim Penn, Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, and Mrs. Luce Hodge-Smith. As part of the ceremony, Mr. Louis Rosa released the granite gemstone from the top of the baton and gifted it to the BVI Olympic Committee as the local Commonwealth Games Association. The gemstone can be seen at the BVIOC office.

The programme for the closing ceremony included cultural performances by BVI Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Arliene Penn on Steel Pan, Razor Blades Fungi Band, Enis Adams Primary School Dancers, and Adagio Dance School Dancers. The Culinary Arts Department at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College presented the final touch with a culinary tasting traditional Scottish fayre.

The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay visit comes under the BVIOC portfolio. Chaired by Chef de Mission, Mark Chapman, and led by event manager, Broadsword Communications, the Steering Committee comprised the BVIOC, the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Premier and Sister Island coordinator, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Department of Culture, the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, and the BVI Tourist Board.

Active support in facilitating plans came from the Steering Committee members, National Sports Federations, Special Olympics, the Ministry of Communication and Works, HM Customs, BVI Red Cross, Meridian Construction Company, Frontline Systems, Top Security, IAM Jet Centre, Nanny Cay Marina, Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, GIS, JTV, ZBVI,and the local media. Volunteers were Rotary Clubs of Tortola and Road Town, Rotaract, Mr. Colin Bramble, Ms Gloreah Mateo, Ms Sally Penn, Ms Deria Joseph, Mr Pete Smth, Ms Charlene Hill, and Mr Patrick Harrigan,

Sponsors included the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Premier, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, the Ministry of Finance, the BVI Bank Association, CCT Global Communications, Roadtown Wholesale – distributors of Powerade and San Bendetto. Supporters include Harneys, Foxy’s Bar, Romney Associates, Little Dix Bay, and MB’s Ice.

The BVIOC thanks the community of the Virgin Islands for coming together in the spirit of unity and friendship to showcase the territory’s people, sports, culture, and hospitality.

Our Sponsors in Action

Steering Committee and volunteers in action

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