After departing the mainland of South America, the Queen’s Baton Relay commenced its three week adventure through the charming Caribbean islands – starting with Barbados.
A trucksize boombox led the procession through Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, creating an infectious party spirit. It seemed impossible for the batonbearers and crowds lining the streets not to join in!
Travelling south-west to Grenada, the baton was carried by some of the island’s most famous sporting legends as well as future stars, including sprinter Samuel Alexander, cricket prodigy Emmanuel Stewart and para-sport swimmer Nye Cruickshank.
One of the most remarkable athletes to hold the baton in Trinidad and Tobago was seven year old junior cyclist Jamarani Murphy. He has taken part in the under 5s, under 7s and under 8s cycling categories, and won all three!
The baton took part in the ‘Heroes Day’ celebrations in St Vincent & The Grenadines before exploring the nation’s beautiful beaches with Pamenos Ballantyne, who has competed in two Olympic Games and three Commonwealth Games.
The sun was shining down on the baton in St Lucia, where Secretary of the St Lucia Golf Association (and Glaswegian!) Joan Paul joined the relay through the island capital of Castries.
At a secondary school athletics meet in Dominica, the baton met two national record holders – Gihon Defoe and Shanee Angol – who are both hoping to be at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games this summer.
In Antigua and Barbuda, Hilson Joseph – known locally as ‘Flag Man’ – completed an incredible 12 hour journey with the relay through the capital of St John’s and across the island.
The baton enjoyed a Caribbean sunset on the mountain peak location of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Here it met lead-scientist Rod Stewart from Haddington, Scotland.
In St Kits & Nevis the baton was carried by another Scottish settler. Quentin Henderson, formerly of Edinburgh, has been a bee keeper on Nevis for 27 years!
Schoolchildren in Anguilla linked hands to create an impromptu spelling of ‘QBR,’ reggae musician Bankie Banx sung in his beachside bar and a rider on horseback held the baton whilst his steed cooled down in the sparkling water.
The Queen’s Baton Relay received a warm welcome to the British Virgin Islands with the bagpipes being played by Robert Christie from Elgin, Scotland.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – the fastest Jamaican woman sprinter of all time and double Olympic Gold winner – held the baton in her home nation whilst representing UNICEF, the charity partner of the XX Commonwealth Games.
After seeing the green sea turtles of the Cayman Islands, the baton met all of Little Cayman Island’s schoolchildren – Brandon, Mathieu and James!
In Turks & Caicos – an archipelago of 40 islands – the baton was relayed by enthusiastic children from the local tennis association before being sailed out onto the blue waters of Grace Bay.
The baton was welcomed to the Bahamas by brother and sister D’Arcy and Cynthia Rahming, who will both be competing in Judo at this year’s Games. After enjoying the ‘oompahing’ of the Conquerors for Christ Junkanoo band, the baton left the island to begin the next leg of its momentous journey – North America!