‘National pride’: Hutson eager about hosting of 50th CARIFTA Games in Guyana
From April 16-18, Jamaica will be host to the 49th edition of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Track and Field Championship, and it is there more often than not, the next Caribbean track star is born.
After this weekend, attention would turn to Guyana, scheduled to host the 50th edition in 2023.
CARIFTA, an Under-17 and Under-20 championship, is widely considered the showpiece of Caribbean Junior track and field.
For the first time since the Games started in 1972, it is scheduled to be hosted in Guyana next year. 2022 was initially earmarked for Guyana, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a recent press engagement, Athletics Guyana President, Aubrey Hutson, was questioned on how plans are progressing to host the event, and insisted it is a matter of national pride given the history Guyana has at the Caribbean games.
“We are going into with the hope that COVID is behind us and we can put out a programme that is reflective of 50 years of CARIFTA Games,” he stated.
“One of the top reasons for fighting for these Games to come to Guyana is because I am a proud Guyanese and I can’t understand why after 50 years of this competition has it not once come to Guyana. I think all of us must try to put out the best we can put out and the let the world see we are no slouch. We are not just another nation, we are a great nation and anything they can do, we can do better,” Hutson further expounded.
Hutson had pegged the budget at GY$120 million of which North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) would usually contribute US$200,000 and the rest is left to Athletics Guyana, the Government, and the private sector.
Additionally, this year’s national budget indicated that at the National Track and Field Facility at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, there will be $20M for upgrades to the track, $13M for a generator, asphalt of the parking lot ($10M) and rehabilitation of the fence ($4M) along with a water pump ($520,000).
Hutson said he is looking forward to the commencement of such works to stay on track for a successful hosting of the event in 2023.