Bahamasair, and other partners, come on board for CARIFTA
The national flag carrier Bahamasair has come on board as the official airline for the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games, signing up as a gold sponsor for the event that is set to be held April 8-10 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium here in The Bahamas.
The announcement came at a press conference held on the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre yesterday. Along with Bahamasair, the Local Organizing Committee of the event (LOC) introduced other partners. Those partners included Consolidated Water Bahamas, Cornèr Bank (Overseas) Limited, Dairy Queen and J.S. Johnson Insurance Agents & Brokers.
Bahamasair, like the nation and the CARIFTA Games itself, is celebrating its golden jubilee anniversary. General Manager of Bahamasair Tracy Cooper said that they are happy to be a part of the CARIFTA Games again, and they have been in constant communication with North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) President Mike Sands. NACAC is the owner of the CARIFTA Games.
“We are more than delighted to be here and get on board and be the airline of choice for the CARIFTA Games. We have been working along with Sands and his team. It’s good when we know that we can be very instrumental in making sure that we can bring these matters to fruition. It’s just not The Bahamas, but we have gotten on board with Sands and his team and we will help out wherever is needed in the Caribbean and the Americas for the NACAC region,” Cooper said.
NACAC President Sands spoke about the relationship between CARIFTA and Bahamasair. He said the airline has its regular schedule but has accommodated CARIFTA many times before.
“When you have little and you’re asked to do so much, it has to have a spirit of cooperation and understanding. Cooper and his team, they recognize the significance of them being involved and the contribution that they would make that would make this event a success. If you’re having an event and your guests can’t get here, you do not have an event. We all know what is happening in the region in terms of accessibility from point to point and notwithstanding prices associated with it,” Sands said.
Bahamasair is looking to take The Bahamas’ CARIFTA swim team to Curacao for the CARIFTA Swimming Championships and teams from Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba will board the plane there. They will head to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and pick up the team from Trinidad and Tobago before returning to The Bahamas. They will also make trips to Antigua and Barbuda to pick up athletes there before returning home. Another charter flight will bring a full load from Jamaica to The Bahamas.
Bahamasair is no stranger to assisting with CARIFTA, having been the official airline for the track and field and swimming teams in recent years. Bahamasair’s Director of Commercial and Charters Samantha Lookie said they are capable of the task at hand.
“This isn’t the first CARIFTA Games that Bahamasair has assisted with,” Lookie said. “We help the swimming and track and field teams to get to every island. The only place we don’t go is Bermuda, but it’s not just The Bahamas. We’re here to assist.”
A 138-seat plane has limitations such as seat capacity, especially with some teams having a large number of team members and supporters. Sands said that there must be a full plane load if there needs to be.
Henderson Cash, general manager of Consolidated Water, said they are here to help the youth.
“Our focus is especially geared toward the youth – to be able to provide the energy that you would see in water and the energy of sport is in motion so we produce motion. Consolidated Water thought of nothing short of a great delight for us to participate in the 50th CARIFTA Games. We are here. We’re going gold with you,” Cash said.
Christine Russell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cornèr Bank (Overseas) Limited, is excited for the opportunity to support the athletes.
“As a bank committed to investing in the development of our local communities, we recognize the importance of supporting initiatives that promote the growth and well-being of our young people. The CARIFTA Games has a long-standing tradition of doing just that by providing a platform for young athletes from across the Caribbean to showcase their talents, compete at a high level, and learn valuable skills,” Russell said.
Crystal Campbell, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Dairy Queen, said that a part of their mission statement is to create positive memories.
“A part of our vision is to support our community, so we saw it fitting to be involved as a corporate citizen. Our civic duties include giving back and supporting kids in particular. Therefore, seeing that this is for the youth, it’s a great opportunity for us to be a part of this. We’re happy to be a part of it,” Campbell said.
Robert Bartlett, Sr. Manager for J.S. Johnson, said they are all about being a responsible corporate citizen.
“We have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of nation building, whether it be through education, sports in body, mind and spirit. Sporting discipline helps in terms of nation building. A lot of our leaders have come through the sporting programs, and we believe that we should not only speak it but we should show it,” Bartlett stated.
As the country gears up to host the CARIFTA Games, the combined Bahamas National High School Track and Field Championships and the CARIFTA Trials will be held at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium from March 25-27.