Barbados will host Al’s awards

The celebrated Caribbean Awards Sports Icons makes a welcome return in Barbados at the end of the year and early indications are that it will be even more spectacular than the previous two.

CASI3 is being held in the magnificent banqueting suite of the Hilton Hotel in Bridgetown on Tuesday 29 November. It’s on in mid-week because it ties in with the island’s 45th independence anniversary on 30 November.

The Caribbean Awards Sports Icons was first held in Jamaica in 2008, the Bahamas the following year but missed a beat last year.

Thankfully, the London-based founder of CASI, Al Hamilton, MBE, has a long history of putting on sports awards all over the world.

He is Jamaican and has found receptive hosts in Barbados despite the financial downturn.

“I’ve had very positive meetings with the Barbados Tourist Authority,” Hamilton said.

“We’re working in conjunction with the Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organisations and its president Roosevelt King who has been very supportive.

I’m also in talks with the president of the Barbados Olympic Organisation, Steve Stoute, who has in principle promised support.”

Hamilton is the founder of the long-running Commonwealth Sports Awards which celebrates its 30th staging in Britain this year.

He decided to launch CASI to honour the great achievements of the Caribbean’s brilliant sportsmen and women of the past 70 years.

Recipients have included Usain Bolt, Viv Richards, Clyde Best, Jessica Ennis, Javier Sotomayor, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Emile Griffith, Hasely Crawford, Herb McKenley, Mike McCallum, Sir Durward Knowles (legendary Bahamian sailor) and Mike Fennell, (president of the Commonwealth Games Federation) for administration.

McCallum, Jimmy Adams and Michael Frater were amongst the big sporting names who attended the inaugural CASI and Emile Griffith attended the Bahamian one where he was feted by his compatriots for overcoming obstacles in the United States to become one of the greatest welterweight and middleweight champions in boxing history.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and Aleen Bailey, the Jamaican sprinter, were at CASI1 and at the Bahamian function dignitaries included Mike Fennell, Fred Sturrup, a journalist and also president of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organisation, Desmond Bannister who was Bahamas sports minister at the time and Sir Orville Turnquest, the former governor-general and deputy prime minister.

The two stagings of CASI has attracted fans and dignitaries from all over the Caribbean and a group from England always makes an effort to travel with Hamilton.