The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago: a more eclectic mix of lifestyles and cultures you’d struggle to find in a single country anywhere else in the world.
The Port of Spain in Trinidad, with its high-rise buildings, busy traffic and fast paced cosmopolitan life that make it the economic capital of the Caribbean. The roads into and out the town are bustling with traffic and people walk the streets with a purpose. However, on a short flight you can be in the peaceful island of Tobago.
With this exciting mix in prospect, these twin islands made host to the next stop on the Queen’s Baton Relay with a day spent in each of the two islands. After arriving in Trinidad late in the evening, the next day was spent flying to Tobago where the baton spent its first day.
Trinidad and Tobago is widely renowned for Carnival — the annual event being held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday where thousands of people gather for one of the biggest parties on earth — held right in the centre of the capital, Port of Spain.
The carnival atmosphere didn’t seem to have dissipated at all as the relay weaved through Trinidad with booming music, dancing and cheering. After a quick meeting with footballer Dwight Yorke, the baton took off across the island being run by local athletes. The sound of the music was only matched by a group of motorcycle riders called the ‘Tobago Mission Riders’. As the baton was passed to a rider up at the front riding pillion, the rest of the 12 bike convoy revved their engines that seemed to blow the level of excitement of the crowd gathered to watch.
One of the most remarkable athletes to hold the baton during the day was a little junior cyclist Jamarani Murphy, 7. Jamarani had rode, and won, the under 5’s, the under 7’s and 8’s cycling categories in Tobago. If his form continues, we could have a very big future star in our midst!
The relay continued the next day on the larger island of Trinidad. The more cityscape like surroundings gave a slightly different but thoroughly exciting feel to the day. The music continued as the speakers seemed to get even larger and even louder for the second day! A steel drum band started the day with a boom, playing the baton out in St. Joseph Secondary School where it began for the day. The first batonbearer was Trinidad and Tobago’s First Lady, Her Excellency Reema Carmona.
Being an avid cricketing nation, with their cricketers competing for the country as well as part of the renowned West Indies team. It is in fact, in the town of Santa Cruz in Trinidad, which is home to one of the most successful cricketers of all time, the enigmatic Brian Lara, world record holder for the most runs scored in a Test and a First Class innings. Some consider Brian to be one of the best batsman of all time and Trinidad & Tobago rightly holds him as a sporting hero in their country.
During the two day’s the Queen’s Baton Relay has spent here, they have shown that they want to celebrate their countries rich sporting heritage and have made sure that as many of the sports and their subsequent athletes are represented — we’ve have athletes from Athletics to Badminton, from Swimming to Table Tennis, from Rugby to Cricket and everything in-between. All of them showed great pride in getting their chance to hold and run with the baton and their enthusiasm and excitement within their groups and teams was very profound.
Although the baton missed Carnival by just 1 week, the people of Trinidad couldn’t help but bring Carnival to it instead — with a procession of Carnival performances leading the baton into the stadium carried by para-swimmer Shanntol Ince. A drum troupe led the procession followed by various characters in costume, cabaret dancers, jesters, clowns, and followed by men on large stilts. The feeling and atmosphere was contagious and a fitting way to see the relay finishing the second day.
The baton continues to the various islands that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines.