04 February 2011

Turks & Caicos Will not Host 2011 CARIFTA Games

Request to British-run 'Interim Government' goes unanswered, according to territory's track and field officials.


Turks and Caicos was one of the last frontiers for officials of the North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Association, under whose auspices the Games are staged, to find a host for the region's marquee junior meet, which is scheduled for April 22 to 24.

But officials in Providenciales (Turks and Caicos Islands) have also joined the list of those turning down the chance to stage the Games, placing it in further jeopardy of being cancelled for the first time in its 40-year history.

"We were actively pursued by NACAC President Teddy McCook to host the CARIFTA Games 2011," Rita Gardiner, a spokesperson for the Turks & Caicos Amateur Athletic Association, told a local TV station on Tuesday.

"This was just two weeks ago, and since then we have held a few meetings to see if it was possible."  She added: "But we have not had a response from the Government and (Tuesday) was the final day to give NACAC a positive response.  "So I reluctantly called and informed them that we did not think it would be possible. Right now, we will not be able to host the CARIFTA Games."

The staging of the Games had been thrown into a state of chaos when St Kitts withdrew from their commitment to host the event, because of financial and logistical reasons.

NACAC have been frantically trying to find a replacement over the last three months, and indications are they may now turn to the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, in a desperate bid to save the Games.

"We couldn't hold out anymore," said Gardiner about the Turks and Caicos' decision. "It's two months away from CARIFTA. Whichever country is going to host the Games, they must be prepared to do some work.

Economic state

"I do not think that TCI can do it right now, seeing our economic state and the state of the national stadium."
She said: "We would have needed to put some work into the stadium and the track. I believe all of the stakeholders would have been willing to come together and do it, but I do not think we need that pressure, since it would be too much pressure right now and there are some other pressing issues."

Jamaica turned down the request to stage the event because of its proximity to its International Invitational meet, which officials in Kingston stated would have stretched its human and financial resources.

The Bahamas was also a strong contender, but they side-stepped the Games because of the failure to get a financial guarantee from NACAC.

Trinidad and Tobago was also being considered, but Ephraim Serrette, president of the track and field body in the two-island republic, indicated they would have needed more notice to successfully stage the Games.

Update:  Jamaica to host Carifta Games

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