Bahamas may host CASI

The much lauded inaugural Caribbean Awards Sports Icons event in Jamaica was a roaring success and it looks set to continue around the Caribbean.

Hosted by the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston in November, it was well attended by Caribbean sports stars including Jimmy Adams, Mike McCallum, Aileen Bailey, Nesta Carter and Grace Jackson.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner interrupted a busy schedule to attend too. Digicel were the main sponsors of CASI. It was also backed by Jamaica’s Ministry of Sports who sent their special adviser Ally McNabb as its rep.

CASI is the brainchild of sports promoter Al Hamilton, MBE, a Jamaican based in London. Hamilton has been running the highly successful annual Commonwealth Sports Awards since 1980 and has taken the event to many Commonwealth countries.

CASI was six years in planning and Hamilton and his Jamaican representative Paulton Gordon did a fine job.

Nearly 300 attended and had a great time meeting the stars and being entertained by international cabaret queen Stella Starr who flew in from Monte Carlo.

The 2009 edition of the Caribbean Awards Sports Icons is up for grabs and the Bahamas is the front runner to host it.

That’s because Nassau-based Fred Sturrup is the recently appointed president of the Commonwealth Boxing Council who attended the Jamaican event and was impressed. Sturrup is also the associate editor of the Nassau Guardian.

He even wants to make CASI a week-long series of sporting events in Nassau culminating in the awards night. Hamilton and Gordon are going to the Bahamas next month for meetings to see if it is feasible.

Sturrup said: ‘Al and Paulton are coming over for a series of exploratory meetings with potential sponsors, government agencies and corporate members to hold CASI here.

‘People they’ll be talking to are just getting over the Christmas holidays so their budgets may not be clear because they’re just getting round to thinking of the year’s commitments. But their chances are good and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it can happen in the Bahamas.

‘I want everyone to buy into the idea of hosting this event despite the economic down turn. They’re going to talk one on one to the Bahamian corporate community and see what happens.’

Hamilton said: ‘Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine the tremendous response for the first Caribbean Awards Sports Icons in my native Jamaica.

‘Fred Sturrup has been steadfast in making every effort, to bring the second CASI to Nassau, despite overtures from four other countries. We go for a fact finding tour next month, when it is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding will be formalised.’