The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay completed its journey in Montserrat with a visit to several local schools and an afternoon with some of the island’s cultural ambassadors.
The Baton spent three nights in the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean before making its wait to Dominica, stop number 55 via the MV Heliconia Star on Thursday.
Wednesday’s activities began at the Lookout Primary School, where students and teachers from all grades assembled in the yard to learn about the baton and to meet several of the athletes who will be representing Montserrat at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK this summer.
A brief stop at the Glendon Hospital allowed workers there to see the Baton up close and to have their photos taken with it. At the Brades Primary School, the children celebrated the fact that four of the five athletes competing this year came up through their programme and were former Sports Day champions.
Deshawn Wilkins, who runs both 100m and 200m, told the students to work and practice hard to prepare for future games. A similar message was echoed by Johmari Lee who shared that he practices at least four days a week in preparation for the games.
The Baton had a brief stop at Bank of Montserrat, where staff and customers took some time to check out the device which includes a 360° camera which captured photos and videos along the way. The entourage, escorted by the Royal Montserrat Police Service, also stopped at Montserrat Secondary School where 15 of their recent Sports Day winners were selected to connect with the Baton.
At all the schools on the stop, Nerissa Golden, Coordinator for the QBR local events shared information on the Baton and its importance to fostering friendship and community ahead of the competition.
During the afternoon, the Baton travelled with Cultural Ambassadors to various locations in the Exclusion Zone. Miss Montserrat Nia St. Clair, Captain of the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades Titus Frederick, and members of the Emerald Community Singers Herman “Cupid” Francis and Teacher Sarah Allen accompanied the athletes and organisers.
This was the first time that Teacher Allen and Titus had been in Plymouth since the town was evacuated in 1997. They both remarked at the dramatic changes and were emotional as they tried to express their feelings.
Francis, a local music teacher and long-time member of the ECS which celebrates 50 years said the last time he visited, the clock tower was still partially visible under the mountains of ash. The tower is now submerged along with the buildings in the abandoned town.
This was a first visit for many of the athletes, some of whom were born years after the eruptions began. Miss Montserrat Nia St. Clair said the view from St. George’s Hill was breathtaking and expressed delight that she could see Montserrat from this vantage point.
Access to the Exclusion Zone was facilitated by the Disaster Management Coordination Agency, the police service, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.
The Relay is a precursor to the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 28 to August 8, 2022, in Birmingham, UK.
For further information about the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay visit: