During the House of Assembly, a Ministerial Statement was made by Lovitta Foggo, Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports.
Mr. Speaker, In 2012 Bermuda hosted a very successful CARIFTA at the National Sports Centre. The games opened with tremendous fanfare on Friday April 6, 2012, as athletes from 25 countries paraded onto the track at the National Sports Centre in splendid national colours to thunderous applause.
This was the fourth time that Bermuda had hosted the CARIFTA games, having previously played host in 1975, 1980 and 2004.
Mr. Speaker, in just 41 days Bermuda will be hosting the 2020 CARIFTA games at the National Sports Centre, the 49th CARIFTA games with 28 nations represented including Bermuda.
Mr. Speaker, the CARIFTA Games are an annual Junior Track and Field competition founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association. The Games started in 1972 serving as the premier junior regional championship for the Caribbean/Caricom region. The Games are held under the auspices of the World Athletics. Run over three days from the 10th to 13th April, the event features 150 separate events and 2 age groups, the Under 18 and Under 20.
Mr. Speaker, Our Bermuda day theme this year is “Celebrating our Caribbean Connections” and it is very fitting that we are also hosting the CARIFTA games. Hundreds of athletes, their families and spectators will be arriving in Bermuda from a number of Caribbean nations and not only will we bonded by our love of track and field but our common cultural heritage.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports is a proud sponsor of the games and we have provided capital funds for the National Sports Centre to not only make repairs to the grandstand but also to resurface the track in time for the games.
Mr. Speaker, A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to host CARIFTA and I would like to publicly thank Ms. Donna Raynor, Chairperson of CARIFTA 2020 and President of the Bermuda National Athletics Association and her team for making this happen. I would also like to thank the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the National Sports Centre, MP. Neville Tyrell, and his team for their work in getting the Centre ready for the games.
Mr. Speaker, I would encourage those who haven’t already gotten their tickets to go online to CARIFTA 2020 Bermuda and get your tickets. This is a very popular and exciting event and opportunity to support our Bermudian athletes. Anyone who attended the 2012 games will recall the excitement of the games and how proud we were to join together in singing “Proud to be Bermudian” just prior to the start of the official opening ceremony.
Mr. Speaker, Bermuda collected a total of six (6) medals at the 2012 games – one gold, three silver and two bronze. Bermuda also narrowly missed medal finishes in several events. In 2019, Bermuda collected six (6) medals again, with three gold, one silver and two bronze. This year we have some very exciting and promising local athletes participating and I look forward to cheering them on as they compete against our family from the Caribbean.