Queen’s baton gets big BVI welcome

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Following two days of relay excitement and cultural farewell BVI style the Queen’s Baton, which contains Her Majesty’s message to be read at the 2018 Commonwealth Games departed the Territory for its next stop.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is an opportunity for Commonwealth countries and overseas territories to showcase their culture, hospitality, communities and sports talent and the British Virgin Islands rose to occasion as all sectors of the community supported the initiative.

The relay began with a welcome reception on 3 July at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park where the baton was handed over to the Premier and the people of the Virgin Islands.

During that ceremony Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith welcomed the presence of the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton, and the team from Australia who journeyed to make sure that the baton arrived.

Hon. Smith explained that this is the fourth time the Territory has welcomed the Queen’s baton – the previous time he said was in 2014 ahead of the Glasgow games. “I am told that this is the longest relay ever, and as a British Overseas Territory, we are always pleased to participate in this global relay that travels to some 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, over 388 days in the lead up to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, also referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’.”

In noting that the relay is an opportunity to showcase the Territory Hon. Smith said: “I do like when the baton comes to us because, as the baton is lifted high in the air, it is taking images of everything that makes us a unique and attractive destination and jurisdiction.

“This, I see, as an important opportunity for us to share with the rest of the world who we are and why we are Nature’s Little Secret…Let it capture all that the Virgin Islands represent, and show the world we have qualities that can never be denied.”

On Monday the baton made its way around the Second, Third, and Fourth Districts pausing at areas such as the Tortola Pier Park, Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly, Botanic Gardens, A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds, the Sea Cow’s Bay community, Cane Garden Bay and Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke.

That evening a welcome reception was held at Government House and in his brief address His Excellency Governor John Duncan told the gathering: “In this era of emails, internet and virtual reality, there is something quite special about physically taking a message around the world.”

He noted that over a period of 288 days the baton will have visited 70 nations and territories, covered 190,000 kilometres and involved a third of the world’s population.

The following day Wednesday, 4 July Deputy Premier, and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering spoke at a welcome ceremony in The Valley, Virgin Gorda. That day also saw a number of activities taking place on that sister island before the Baton made it back to Tortola.

Once in Tortola the baton meandered through the Seventh and Eighth Districts and in the process showcasing areas such as the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, The Stickett, and the Greenland playing field where a number of exhibitions from different sporting federations took place.

Fungi music gave a great start to Tuesday night’s closing event which saw a wonderful fusion of BVI and Australian culture. At that event BVI athletes Tahesia Harrigan-Scott and Kyron McMaster officially presented the baton to Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn who then returned the baton to the travelling team.

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