Big Mac backs CARIFTA here

Cayman’s Premier has a lot on his
mind these days. There is Cayman’s economic quandary, civil service issues and
the high-profile crimes in his native West Bay
all fighting for his attention.

In the midst of that it is
refreshing to see the Honourable McKeeva Bush make time out for Cayman’s athletes.

The Premier took part in the
island-wide CARIFTA flag and baton relay on Grand Cayman last Saturday. He was
on the latter end of the exercise, anchoring the exchange between North Side
and West Bay.

Mr. Bush received the CARIFTA items
at Morgan’s Harbour from local Olympian Ronald Forbes, who came in by boat and
then produced a memorable sprint down the dock.

From there he handed off the items to
Cayman’s biggest female track star Cydonie Mothersill, who then ran with the
items towards John
A Cumber
Primary school.

The flag and baton relay are part
of the build-up towards the CARIFTA Games, which take place this weekend at the
national stadium (Truman Bodden Sports Complex) April 3-5.

Mr. Bush talked about the
significance of the upcoming CARIFTA Games.

“I’ve always been massively
supportive of CARIFTA from my days as the Minister of Sports,” Mr. Bush said.
“The first medals Cayman won came through CARIFTA.

“By hosting these worthwhile games
it gives Cayman regional exposure. Even in these austere times it can give
aspirations to our athletes and our youth.”

Aside from Mr. Bush’s sprint one of
the more interesting parts of the relay was in Ronald Forbes getting to shore.

Forbes originally travelled on a
large sailboat captained by Cayman Islands Olympic Committee President Donald
McLean. Both made it within two miles of the dock before the boat went aground.

The result was Forbes had to travel
to shore on a small passenger boat with most of the passengers from McLean’s vessel.

McLean, who has a strong history in
sailing, stated that in spite of the mishap he was happy to be involved.

“The bank was low and I thought I
could get in at five feet low tide,” McLean
said. “However it didn’t turn out that way. Needless to say it felt good until
the boat ran aground. It’s a significant event and we were quite pleased to be
part of it.”

As one might imagine, the benefits
of having a large-scale event in Cayman, sports-related or otherwise, can have
a positive impact on society.

From inciting national pride and
unity to boosting the economy Mr. Bush is well aware of the positives coming
from hosting the CARIFTA Games here.

“The Caribbean is linked most by
sporting events and it’s always a particularly grand opportunity for the
country that hosts CARIFTA,” Mr. Bush said. “It’s simply not like any other
sporting event.

“I think for these games the people
will feel more in tune with it, it can make Cayman feel a part of something
positive and give athletes, particularly the younger ones, an opportunity to

“You’ll certainly see the exposure
and enthusiasm in these games and it will help the economy. I expect these
games to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars into Cayman’s economy.”


Ronald Forbes hands off the CARIFTA flag to Premier McKeeva Bush.
Photo: Matthew Yates