The Queen’s Baton has been relayed across all six inhabited Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) exciting the 35,000 strong population about the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
First to play host was South Caicos, where one of the territory’s first Commonwealth Games athletes and CARIFTA Games medallist, Andre Taylor (Edmonton 1978), had the pleasure of carrying the Baton to his 103-year-old grandmother. In 1966, Eliza Basden welcomed Her Majesty to the island; more than fifty years later, Eliza was so overwhelmed to hold Her Baton that she was sure it had come from
Then at Salt Cay, population 75, the Baton tripped from tip to toe, carried proudly by the unspoiled isle’s inhabitants.
Island hopping on to Grand Turk, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, and Providenciales, in just two days the Baton covered kilometre after kilometre in the hands of athletes, children, the elderly, and those with special needs. It travelled by horse, golf buggy, sail, bicycle, plane, kayak and flyboard.Heralding the upcoming Games, the Baton holds special significance in TCI.
As citizens of a British Overseas Territory, for Turks Islanders the Commonwealth Games is the only major international multi-sport event where they can fly their iconic flag independently. And while they are proud of their world-class athletes who are selected to represent Great Britain, they say there’s nothing like competing for home.
Along streets and beaches proud parents, friends and family stood by to take photos and cheer their batonbearers on. The energy was contagious as visiting tourists, many from the US, were drawn into the festivities and took time to learn about the Baton and the Games next year.
A bustling night market known locally as the Fish Fry at Providenciales capped off the Relay with batonbearers, locals and tourists from all over the world dancing to the Caribbean’s calypso beats.Athletes who’ll represent TCI will get to interact with the Baton again later in the week when the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas, kicks off.