QUEEN’S BATON COMPLETES ANGUILLA LEG

The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay went live in Anguilla at 9.00 am on Monday 9th May in a ceremonial launch, at Government House, hosted by the Queen’s representative, Her Excellency the Governor, Ms. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam. Her Excellency, along with ACGA President, Mr. Kenn Banks, carried the Baton to the waiting guests as the Royal Anguilla Police Band played a fanfare of music. After her opening speech, remarks were made by the Hon Premier Dr Ellis Webster, and The Hon Minister of Sports, Sport Ms DeeAnn Kentish-Rogers. The event was chaired by ACGA Secretary, Mrs Althea Hodge.

Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and ACGA President, Mr. Kenn Banks

The two-day visit to Anguilla is stop 58 on the Baton’s 294-day journey as it traverses the earth passing through all 72 Countries and Territories of the Commonwealth of Nations, connecting its 2.5 billion people of all races, religions and cultures, located on all the continents, At the beginning of its journey, in October 2021, the Queen placed in it her message to the Commonwealth Games 2022.
The Baton is packed with technology including a 360-degree camera, a heart rate monitor, and an air quality sensor. All the imagery and information is beamed back to the Birmingham 2022 offices. It is made mainly of copper, aluminium and brass, but contains a platinum streak to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In recognition of this, the ACGA arranged for the planting of frangipani trees at several schools during the visit of the Baton.

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Following the launch, the Baton was carried out of the Government House compound by the Governor who handed it over to cyclists Delroy Carty and Vernon Hodge who took it to centenarians, Althea Richardson, 104 years, and Ursula Connor, 108 years.

For the remainder of the day the Baton visited places of interest in The Valley and the western portion of the island. Locations included schools, the Anguilla Tennis Academy, The Aurora Golf Club, Cap Juluca, the Arch at West End, Little Bay, and Sandy Ground Saltworks. At all locations hundreds of Anguillians including children, community leaders, workers, and ordinary Anguillians had the opportunity to interact with the Baton. Along with bicycles it was transported by foot, horseback and wheelchair. The day ended with a photo session at the iconic view overlooking Sandy Ground from Backstreet, South Hill.

Day two of the visit began at the Atlin Naraldo Harrigan House of Assembly where the Baton was received by the Clerk to the House and the staff, and by the High Court Judge and staff of the Court. Members of the Royal Anguilla Police Force carried the Baton out of the Government Complex to the main road, where it was received by cyclists and taken to preschools, the two ALHCS campuses, and the OKPS.

The Baton travelled to sites in the east including, the offices of The Anguillian newspaper where it was received by Executive Editor, Joyce Webster-Stuart on behalf of founder, Mr Nat Hodge, and then carried to Shoal Bay beach. There after it was received and escorted through the eastern end of the island by the Hon Premier, to sites including: the two primary schools; the Island Harbour fishing jetty; and the Heritage Museum, where he was welcomed by proprietor, Mr. Colville Petty. Back in The Valley the Baton visited businesses and institutions in the central business area.

Three ‘change makers’ were selected to represent the youth of Anguilla. They were the Hon Minister DeeAnn Kentish-Rogers, Clemvio Hodge, and Omari Banks. They were interviewed as part of the visit to be posted on the QBR website. Our ‘Special Baton Bearers’ included members of the Anguilla Commonwealth Games 2022 team who travelled around the island with the Baton, during its two-day visit and were introduced to various communities including all the schools.

From three o’clock the Baton was central to a series of road relays and 5K races organised by the Anguilla Branch of the British Red Cross (ARC), as they celebrate Red Cross Month. The participants included primary school teams and teams from the houses of the ALHCS. All the races began and ended by the roundabout at the Pro Cathedral of St. Mary. Cheering on the participants was H. E. the Governor, Ms. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, patron of the ARC.

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