After delays, CARIFTA organising team announced

The 2019 CARIFTA Games will be held at Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

After a lengthy delay, the body that will spearhead the hosting of the 2019 CARIFTA Games in the Cayman Islands has been unveiled to the public.

The CARIFTA 2019 Local Organising Committee (LOC) will be co-chaired by Cayman Islands Athletic Association President, Lance Barnes, and Assistant Chief Officer in the Ministry of Sports, Joel Francis.

Other LOC members are Ventisha Conolly and Evelyn Rockett (Deputy Co-Chairs), Liz Smith (Secretary), Joel Burke (Head of Finance), Jacqueline Haynes (Legal Advisor), Ordinary Members Darrel Rankine, Collin Anglin, Osbert Francis and Scimone Campbell-Chin (Meeting Manager).

“I am very delighted at the opportunity for the Cayman Islands to host the CARIFTA Games again and look forward to supporting the LOC in its delivery of what promises to be the best ever,” said Sports Minister Julianna O’Connor-Conolly in a release announcing the LOC on 16 July.

LOC Co-Chairs Lance Barnes and Joel Francis at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

However, understands the publicising of the make up of the LOC was due in part to there being some uncertainty about who would sit on the body. Initial enquires about this group as early as April revealed it would not be a simple task, as there were internal issues within the local athletics family to sort out.

As several follow-ups about the island’s readiness for the games were made, it was indicated that issues were still being worked out and that an announcement would be forthcoming.

At one point, was provided with information that showed various executive members of the athletics association being assigned LOC roles. However, their names were not among those released this week. Among those absent are CIAA 2nd VP Maxine Anglin and former technical director Cydonie Mothersill. The former made the initial pitch to the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) to host the games, and the latter made the most recent presentation at this year’s meet in the Bahamas about Cayman’s readiness.

Nonetheless, the co-chairs said the LOC is equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience to ensure a world-class success.

“We are thankful for the support of the Government and more particularly the Ministries of Sports and Tourism; and as such, we promise an event that Cayman and the wider region will be proud of. This is also an opportunity for us to showcase our star athletes on our home ground,” Barnes said.

Francis added: “We have put together a highly capable team with a mixture of experience with some of those who served on previous LOCs for the two editions of CARIFTA that were held in the Cayman Islands and some new blood who are both capable in a variety of disciplines and interested in growing the sport of athletics for future generations.

“We will be investing a lot of our resources in training both new and existing officials to deliver a quality product and I am particularly keen to see rejuvenated interest from the wider community in the sport as we deliver the quality of sporting event that Cayman is known to present.”

Next year’s CARIFTA Games will be the 48th staging of the regional showpiece and involve over 500 athletes and delegates from across the Caribbean competing in some 66 track and field events at Truman Bodden Sports Complex over the Easter weekend.

“CARIFTA 2019 will not only involve the Government and the Association in undertaking an event of such magnitude but will require strong support from the private sector and the community at large. I would like to encourage them to become partners in the execution of these Games,” Minister O’Connor-Connolly stated.

NACAC President Victor Lopez said he was looking forward to a successful hosting of the games. “We are completely confident that your Federation together with the Cayman Islands government and other stakeholders will present an excellent event,” he stated in a letter.

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