Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie brings remarks at the 42nd CARIFTA Games. (BIS photo/Derek Smith)
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon.
Perry G. Christie officially opened the 42nd CARIFTA Games during the opening ceremony at the Thomas
Robinson National Stadium, Friday, March 29, 2013. This is the 7th
time that The Bahamas has hosted the regional games, which will run
from March 29 – April 1.
The Prime Minister said, “It is with the greatest of pride that
we today host over 600 of the finest athletes, coaches and officials
from 26 countries in the inaugural regional sporting event for our new
National Stadium which has been named in honour of the late Thomas Robinson,
the Bahamas’ first internationally recognised track and field athlete,
who died late last year.
“I could not think of a more fitting opening event for this stadium.
So Tommy my friend I know as you observe the Opening Ceremony of these
42nd Annual CARIFTA games from your eternal resting place,
I am assured that you share with all of us the joy and pride that is
befitting this occasion.”
Prime Minister Christie said since its completion, the stadium has
come to symbolise the future of national sports in The Bahamas.
“It is a modern facility, designed to provide the best environment
for training athletes and holding sports and cultural events.
It holds thousands of enthusiastic supporters and fans; it is a stadium
that, I hope, will do much to unite the people of The Bahamas.”
He added, “We owe a great debt of gratitude to the People’s Republic
of China for their marvellous gift and for the construction of the stadium.”
The Prime Minister noted that as a former athlete, track and field
sporting events are very close to his heart.
He said he represent a generation of Bahamian athletes who could not
have imagined or even dreamt of competing in a Bahamian stadium such
as this one.
The Bahamian athletes participating in the CARIFTA Games parade around the track during the opening ceremony of the 42nd CARIFTA Games at Thomas Robinson Stadium, Friday, March 29, 2013. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)
“It was therefore, not difficult for me, when the opportunity was
presented to have made a decision to effect the construction of this
stadium for and on behalf of Bahamian athletes who had made great strides
in elevating and promoting our country in the field of international
Prime Minister Christie said although the theme for these Games is
“A Celebration of Caribbean Unity”, he
feels Caribbean unity has always been the focus and the purpose of these
“When Austin Sealy, of Barbados, started
the games in 1972, they were meant to enhance relations between the
English-Speaking countries of the Caribbean after the dissolution of the West Indies
The Prime Minister saluted Mr. Sealy for creating a competition, which
has become a model.
Prime Minister Christie said over the years athletes have developed
an appreciation and respect for one another at CARIFTA, which has been
translated into admiration and support for each other whenever and wherever
they perform on the international stage.
Austin Sealy (centre) of Barbados, one of the inaugurators of the CARIFTA Games, was honoured at the opening of the 42nd CARIFTA Games. Also pictured at left: Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Daniel Johnson and right: Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie. (BIS photo/Derek Smith)
“For example, there is no Caribbean person who did not celebrate
with the Jamaicans when Usain Bolt won both the 100 and 200 metre sprints
and there is no Caribbean person who did not rejoice when the Bahamian
Golden Knights took the gold in the 4 x 400 relay in the 2012 Summer
Olympics, running down team USA on the last leg of the relay to thunderous
cheers and applause from the crowds.
“Our sporting successes as a region help to unite us; we feel cohesion
as a people with similar histories and culture.”
The Prime Minister also noted that The Bahamas has had a rich history
of success at CARIFTA games.
Five Bahamian female athletes have had the distinction of being awarded
the coveted Austin Sealy Award for the most outstanding performance
over the years. They are MaryAnn Higgs, Lavern Eve, Pauline Davis-Thompson,
Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and last year’s star, Anthonique Strachan.
Prime Minister Christie said, “That CARIFTA has been an integral
part of producing so many world class athletes, speaks to the calibre
of competition that is set here. It also tells me, that many of
the athletes, who will be competing over the next four days, represent
the future of Caribbean athletics and some will be future World and
Olympic Champions for the Caribbean. It is vital that we continue to
nurture young people who show new and surprising potential and talent
The National Dance Troup performs at the 42nd CARIFTA Games. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)
The Thomas A. Robinson Stadium was packed to the maximum with fans cheering for their favourite athletes during the opening ceremony of the 42nd CARIFTA Games. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)
A dancer performs while the Bahamas All Star Marching Band plays at the 42nd CARIFTA Games. (BIS photo/Derek Smith)
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie second from (right) stands as the Bahamian contingent passes during the Parade of Athletes at the opening of the 42nd CARIFTA Games. Also standing from left: President, Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association, Mike Sands; Senior Vice President, International Association of Athletics Federations Council; Bob Hersh and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Daniel Johnson. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)
The Royal Bahamas Police Force Cadets march with the official CARIFTA flag during the opening ceremony of the 42nd CARIFTA Games at Thomas Robinson Stadium, Friday, March 29, 2013. (BIS photo/Letisha Henderson)