The Bahamas’ successful staging of the 47th FLOW Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (CARIFTA) Games has positioned the country to play host to more international sporting events, according to the sports minister who touted the potential economic impact.
Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture Michael Pintard told Eyewitness News that a number of the international organizations that attended the CARIFTA Games over the weekend, have expressed interest in bringing their events to The Bahamas.
“I have had the chance to interact with officials who have come in from around the world for this competition,” Pintard said.
“In conversation with them, they have indicated that they want to use The Bahamas as a staging point for future events. So, we are excited about the potential that The Bahamas will be the place where other international events will be held.”
The CARIFTA Games brought together an estimated 500 athletes and 150 team officials from 26 countries, along with international athletes’ friends, family and sport enthusiasts added to that number.
Pintard said events of this magnitude attract thousands of tourist dollars to our shores. As such, he said various sectors – small and medium sized enterprise or large resort properties, usually feel the economic impact of such investments.
“It’s good for the country as far as the massive amount of trade and commerce that’s happening this weekend,” shared CEO of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Edison Sumner.
“With so many people in town for the Games, the hotels should be doing well. The vendors should be doing well and so should the transportation industry as well.
“From a Chamber of Commerce perspective, I think that this is fantastic and it would be great to see us host more of these events in the future and invite more of these types of competitions into the country.”
The stadium rocked with excitement over the three-day event.
Fans from around the Caribbean were eager to share their sentiments about the games and who they came to support.
“I travel to every CARIFTA to support Trinidad and Tobago,” said Cheryl George, a native of the country.
“The athletes, because they are young, they need to be supported. At the end of the day, if we don’t support them, they will not become better athletes. So, as we support them we hope to have another Ato Bolton or Richard Thompson.”
Valerie Butt of Barbados said, “It’s been really energetic. It’s been great to hear all the Bahamians cheering on their team and everyone just doing their best. It’s great to be here.”
Despite the massive number of supporters that attended the event, the assistant police chief said his officers were able to manage the environment that was safe and enjoyable from start to finish.
“We are ensuring that our visitors, and Bahamians, who came to spectate and participate in this event are safe,” said Assistant Police Commissioner Ashley Greenslade.
“We are policing effectively and efficiently and happy to report an incident free weekend.”