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Queen’s Baton Relay making final rounds

Queen’s Baton Relay making final rounds

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The Queen’s Baton,the symbolic emblem used to unite participants in the Commonwealth Games, is making its final rounds through the Caribbean.

The relay is slated for the Bahamas this weekend; the 39th country scheduled to host the event.

The Baton made its journey through St.Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday, July 16.{{more}}

This country is among 60 percent of the countries of the Commonwealth, that will stage the relay for the first time.

The lighted crescent-like shaped baton, which contains a message from Queen Elizabeth II, began its trek here, at the Calliaqua Hard Court, last week Saturday. The relay followed a brief ceremony, which included the formal hand-over from the regional Vice President of the Commonwealth, Alexander Chapman.

Minister of Sports, Clayton Burgin, National Olympic Committee President Trevor Bailey, Melanie Mc Kenzie, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the National Society of Persons with Disabilities and one of this country’s representatives at the inaugural games in 1958, Elton Anderson, were all part of the ceremonial passing of the baton.

National athletes spanning various generations carried the baton to Government House.

From former national sprint athlete Victor Peters to netballer Saskia Diamond to current long distance ace Pamenos Ballantyne, who carried it on its final leg.

Governor-General Sir Frederick Ballantyne received the baton at Government House, at which another brief ceremony and cultural package was held.

The baton left England on March 14, Commonwealth Day, and will touch down on each of the 71 countries of the Commonwealth. Before coming to the Caribbean, the relay was staged on the African continent.

The relay lasts one year and one day, which makes it the longest most inclusive relay ever.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the 34th country to stage the relay.

According to Chapman then, the public response here has been the best.

Many Vincentians made sure they got a glimpse or touch of the baton,as it made its way through the route, accompanied by blaring local soca music.

Scaled down because of the passage of Hurricane Emily, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines leg was condensed to one day, from the intended four-day schedule.

The baton arrived here from Grenada the previous night and moved onto St. Lucia, on Sunday.

After leaving the Bahamas, the relay heads to the Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, Belize, Antigua/Barbuda, St.Kitts/Nevis, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and finally Bermuda, before heading to the Falkland Islands.

The Commonwealth Games will be staged in Melbourne Australia from March 15 to 26, 2006.

Queen Elizabeth II will read the message contained in the Baton, at the opening of the Games.

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