This was following a brief opening ceremony with welcome remarks from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Caribbean Region vice president, Senator Fortuna Belrose, the current St Lucia Minister of Culture and Local Government. Belrose is also the president of the St Lucia Commonwealth Games Association.
She had in the audience President Carmona and Brian Lewis, president of theT&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and T&T Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA), for the opening festivities. Also addressing the gathering of past and present athletes, led by double Commonwealth Games gold medallist Roger Gibbon was Diane Henderson, Team TTO chef de mission.
Mayor of Port-of-Spain Joel Martinez expressed his thanks to the athletes and the Relay delegation for their commitment to the Commonwealth sport movement and the tradition of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR).
The Mayor started the relay and completed the formal part of the proceedings by handing the baton to Carmona (Reema), who ran the first leg of the relay from the start point opposite bpTT corporate offices to Memorial Park.
Her excellency then handed the baton to multiple Commonwealth Games medalist shooter Roger Daniel.
Among the contingent of athletes were members of the Red Force cricket team, national netball, hockey, rugby sevens and swimmers.
Micheal Alexander, 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games boxing bronze medallist, carried the baton on behalf of the national boxing team that included Olympian boxer Nigel Paul.
Roger Gibbon, accompanied by Michael Phillips carried the baton along Tragarette Road back to the start at the Queens Park Savannah.
Along the route a number of school children including students of the Boissiere Village RC school and the Newtown Boys school, came out to cheer on the baton bearers. Witnessing the opening ceremony and braving the hot sun was a large group of students from the St Monica School.
The Queens Baton will travel to Tobago today and tomorrow will depart T&T for Grenada. T&T was the first stop on the Caribbean phase of the 388-day and 230,000-kilometre journey that began on the March 13 at Buckingham Palace.
When the Queen’s Baton arrives at the opening ceremony of the Games on April 4, the entire Commonwealth will have been a part of the journey giving everyone the opportunity to “Share the Dream”.
On an ambitious journey to connect with the modern and diverse Commonwealth of today, the QBR will achieve two records - it will be the longest relay ever and the most accessible relay to date.
It’s the vision of the 21st Commonwealth Games to stage a QBR that embraces the Commonwealth’s diversity, fosters community pride and excites the Commonwealth about Gold Coast 2018.
The QBR has been the traditional curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games since the 1958 Games in Cardiff, Wales.