After announcing the largest team in the Cayman Islands Athletics Association (CIAA) history, Local Organising Committee Co-Chair Joel Francis says his team is putting the finishing touches on the staging of the 48th CARIFTA Games.
“Organising games of this magnitude is obviously a massive undertaking,” said Francis. “So far, there are a number still to be taken care of. I believe we are ahead of most countries. We’ve had an inspection from the regional governing body who have given us cleans bills of health in inspection visits so far.”
As we learned at Wednesday’s (10 April) team announcement, some of the original promises for the event will not come to fruition, while others are just getting started.
Although not expected to be fully completed, a previously promised roadway from Walkers Road to the University College of the Cayman Islands finally began construction Thursday (11 April).
“We may get it roughed in which would be a big help for us in terms of traffic flow,” said Francis.
A National Roads Authority (NRA) spokesperson told Cayman 27 “after being gazetted, a temporary road surface will be in place by CARIFTA to facilitate traffic flow as per the original scope and time frame of the project. A full upgrade to the road will follow.”
As for the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, the Local Organizing Committee have seemingly changed course on its original seating plan. Francis says local real estate company Dart has donated seating to accommodate an athletes only section in expectation of what, he says, will be over 500 athletes along with supporters arriving on seven charter flights.
“We are grateful to the Dart group for giving that to us,” said Francis. “It has been delivered it is on site. The base for it has been done, and the Dart group will also meet the cost of erecting it and dismantling it at the end.”
“Sponsoring CARIFTA is consistent with Dart’s commitment to youth and sports, ” said Pilar Bush, Executive Vice President Marketing. “Competition is critical for an athlete’s success and continued improvement; and CARIFTA provides the Caribbean’s young athletes with competition, as well as the opportunity to visit other Caribbean countries and to develop a network of support and friendship across the region.”
However, Francis says the much-anticipated scoreboard “will not happen because of timelines.”
All things considered, Francis says sales for the event have been good with just limited seating available.
“The main grandstand has sold out,” said Francis. “When we looked at the profile of the buyers, looks like 70% local, and 30% from mostly from the Caribbean and the southern United States like Florida.”
A confident group as the CARIFTA countdown winds down.
“With ten days to go, we will be ready,” said Francis. “We will be ready to welcome all our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean.”
The 48th CARIFTA Games take place 20-22 April at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.