Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 13, 2023 (SKNIS): Members of the Federal Cabinet joined with officials from St. Kitts and Nevis Athletics (SKNA) and the National Olympic Committee to welcome home and celebrate the achievements of the young men and women who participated in the 50th CARIFTA Games held in the Bahamas over the Easter weekend.
A “Welcome Home” ceremony was held on Wednesday (April 12, 2023) at the KayanJet Private Air Terminal lounge for the athletes and coaches, who received rousing applause from the gathering, which also included proud parents, school principals, and well-wishers.
Ambassador in the Ministry of Sports, His Excellency Kenneth Douglas, congratulated the athletes for flying the flag of the Federation positively.
“We, the government and the Ministry of Sports … can assure you that we are going to do everything within our power to make sure … that you blossom, and you bloom. You did us very proud over the last weekend,” he stated, noting that he was locked in to the live broadcast of the games.
Ambassador Douglas singled out the exceptional performances of Akanyé Samuel-Francis, who won gold in the Under 17 Males 400-metre hurdles; Jaylen Bennett, who captured silver in the Under 17 Males 400-metres; De’Cheynnelle Thomas, bronze medallist in the Under 17 Females 400 metres and the youngest national competitor at the age of 13 years, as well as Jahzara Claxton and Jermahd Huggins. Claxton competed in seven events, while Huggins contested eight events at CARIFTA.
Minister of State responsible for Youth Empowerment, the Honourable Isalean Phillip, commended the athletes for their hard work and discipline in track and field.
“I must thank everyone who has contributed and supported our athletes in their success,” Honourable Phillip expressed, mentioning the role of coaches, SKNA officials, parents, teachers, and supporters. “As the youth minister, I am a huge advocate for positive youth engagement, and of course, we have to recognize sports as a major avenue for providing opportunities for young people to grow and develop.”
She highlighted the recent scholarship opportunity received by Gianna Phipps and encouraged the other athletes to continue competing to the best of their ability, noting that it can open doors to a world of opportunity.
Other Cabinet members at the welcome ceremony included Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Konris Maynard, Minister of Foreign Affairs et al, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Minister of Tourism et al, the Honourable Marsha Henderson, Minister of Environment et al, the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Marcus Natta.