Just north-east of Grenada - stretching along the ribbon of islands that make up the Lesser Antilles Caribbean Islands - between Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines is the very small island of Carriacou. This was the first stop today for the Queen’s Baton in its journey around Grenada.
A short 20 minute hop from Maurice Bishop Airport landed the baton into Carriacou. Out of the plane windows, little dots of island could be seen on the approach into the airfield including ‘Sandy Island’ which is a stretch of sands and palm trees roughly 100m long, draped in the bay surrounding Carriacou island.
The town centre was thriving with a bustling crowd of people and music from all directions when the baton arrived. A steel drum concert was delivered by The Petite Martinique Schools' Harmony Steel Pan Orchestra as the crowds gathered round to get a glimpse of the baton. The baton was entertained by the students from the Lesterre Primary School performing a ‘Quadrille’, a traditional dance that is formed of four couples in a circle or square, in their brightly coloured outfits - a crowd favourite judging by the large crowds watching. This was followed by a mesmerising and raucous dance performance by the Bogles and Mount Royal Junior Big Drum Group in which the boy drummed on large African drums whilst the girls performed a lively dance, creating blurs of colour as they threw their patterned skirts around beneath them. The performance escalated to a grand finale as the boys danced to outperform each other, vying for the girls’ attention - the watching crowds enjoying the ‘battle’ immensely as they laughed, clapped and cheered.
After this enthralling start, the baton relay began. Senator Jester Emmons formally started the relay, passing the baton to young sporting star Emmanuel Stewart. This 13-year old cricket prodigy is a national hero that the islanders are rightfully proud of. Emmanuel was the first person from Carriacou to captain a junior national team of any kind when he captained the Grenadian U15 National Cricket team.
The baton relayed through all of the islands 38 square kilometres, taking time to stop off at each of the four schools en route - each lining up and down the road with banners and flags and even some cheerleader pom-poms! Officials in Grenada had made it a priority that every school child in the country had the chance to see and touch the Queen’s Baton and they were certainly delivering on that.
Four kilometres from Carriacou is the even smaller 2.4 square kilometre island of Petite Martinique. Together with Carriacou, it is a dependency of Grenada. A quick speedboat ride across from Carriacou, the baton arrived in Petite Martinique to a crowd of people gathered on the harbour front. Two rows of children lined the jetty from the shore and sang “Wel-come, wel-come, welcome to you” as the baton was paraded between the rows.
The stunning view back across the water to Carriacou offered the perfect setting as the children relayed the baton around their running track, positioned right on the water’s edge. It was all too brief but a wonderful moment before time to say goodbye to the baton for it to head back across the water to mainland Grenada.