In 2005 it was brought to Belize for the first time carrying a special electronic message from the Queen herself- Well the Queen's Baton came back to Belize today to commemorate next year's Commonwealth Games which are held every 4 years. Belize is just one stop on a long journey to visit all 70 commonwealth nations. Now this baton wasn't coated in 24 Karat Gold nor did it have that automated message but it's distinctive design certainly did not disappoint. Courtney Weatherburne looks at the brief history behind the Queen's Baton and what it means for Belize.

The Queen's Baton Relay tradition started back in 1958. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd wrote and enclosed this letter in this silver-gilt enamel baton.

The letter was recited in Cardiff Wales for the start of what was called the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Now it is called the Commonwealth Games and a newly styled Queen's baton is making its rounds to all African and Caribbean countries including Belize among others.

Where it made its debut today.

Kerry Thompson - Team Liaison, Queen's Baton Relay
"So this Queen's Baton Relay is the longest Relay in history, it is traveling for 388 days to all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over 230,000 Kilometers. So earlier this year on the 13th of March on Commonwealth day as per tradition Her Majesty the Queen placed the message inside the baton which you can see on the side here."

And that message will be read next year in Australia to kick off the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which Belize will be participating in.

Giovanni Alamilla - Assistant Secretary General, Commonwealth Games Association
"Belize will have the participation of cycling, athletics, shooting, table tennis and triathlon."

And in terms of the Baton's design, it was crafted to reflect the uniqueness of the Common Wealth Games host country.

Keri Algar - Media Liaison
"The baton represent the people, the place and the spirit of the Gold Coast and its form represents our past, our history, our present and our future."

And Belize is now part of the ongoing narrative as our cyclists take up the baton on the first stage of the tour. The team rode up to Belize City …. Where the baton was then handed over to the young athletes who ran proudly with it to the House of Culture.

As you saw, the Cyclists rode from the PGIA to San Cas. In Belize City where the athletes ran it to the House of Culture. But the Belize tour doesn't end there.  Tomorrow it will be taken to the Chiquibul Park where Rafael Manzanero and his FCD team will join in the relay. They will make a stop in Caracol. Then on August 4th it heads over to Orange Walk. The Queen's Baton team leaves Belize to Guyana on August 6th. Before arriving in Belize it was taken to 5 cities in Canada.

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The Queen’s Baton Links Belize to 2018 Commonwealth Games

The Queen’s Baton arrived in the Jewel today as it makes it way to Gold Coast in Australia in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Here, it was met with much fanfare at the start of a relay covering ground in the City, to Orange Walk as well as the Chiquibul National Park. From here the next stop is another Commonwealth nation, Guyana, in a relay that will cover seventy nations. Duane Moody reports.

Kerry Thompson, Team Liaison, Queen’s Baton Relay

“It’s the longest relay in history; it’s traveling for three hundred and eighty-eight days to all seventy nations and territories of the Commonwealth, over two hundred and thirty thousand kilometers.”

Duane Moody, Reporting

Earlier this year, on the thirteenth of March, Queen Elizabeth the Second placed a message inside a uniquely shaped baton ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games scheduled for April of next year. The Queen’s Baton touched down in Belize today over one hundred and forty days into the relay across member nations and territories.

Kerry Thompson

“It’s past through eighteen nations of Africa, fourteen of the Caribbean and now it is in the Americas. So we just had a whirlwind trip through Canada to five different cities; one every day. We are heading to Guyana this weekend and on to the Falkland islands before we hand over to the next region in Europe. So when this message passes through the hands of everyone throughout the Commonwealth, it will arrive on the Gold Coast at Carrara Stadium on the fourth of April at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games when the message will be removed and it will be read aloud to officially declare the games open.”

The baton is designed by the host city, Gold Coast and reflects the people the place and the spirit of the city and in its form, it represents the past history, the present and the future.

Keri Algar, Media Liaison, Queen’s Baton Relay

“The back of the baton is made from macadamia wood which is indigenous to the Gold Coast region and there is a cultural and indigenous significance. The middle section of the baton is stainless steel stringer; it is shiny and literally reflect our present like a mirror and so this is our present. And when you look closely, you see the three-digit alpha codes of every nation in the Commonwealth in sequential order. The front of the baton is made from reclaimed plastic and this plastic came from the oceans and the waterways of the Gold Coast beaches. We’ve got reclaimed beaches and we are very lucky so it took the designer some time to find enough plastic. The loop shape of the baton it captures the boundless energy of the people of the Gold Coast and the warm lights in the inside that you can see changing color; this is the warm spirit of the people of the Gold Coast and they are inviting you to share in the excitement of the games of the Gold Coast next year.”

And today athletes from the various associations joined in the excitement. The baton was first handed over to the cyclists at the entrance to the Philip Goldson International Airport and brought to Belize City where City Councilor Dion Leslie handed over the baton to members of athletics, volleyball and karate associations at the flag monument. It was then carried through the streets of the city to the House of Culture.

Hilly Martinez, President, Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association

“It is the second time that it has been included in the Queen Baton and so Belize feels very proud and the organization feels very proud. It will be going to Cayo Caracol tomorrow. Today it will go through the city and Friday it goes to the Belize River Valley area, so try and cover as much of the country as possible.”

Giovanni Alamilla, Asst. Sec. Gen., Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association

“Tomorrow morning we go to the Chiquibul and we have them visit Caracol. So we’ve asked FCD Rafael Manzanero to assist with us with logistics and he’s agreed to come onboard. We will actually unveil a plaque tomorrow because the Chiquibul and the Caracol area has been designated as the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.”

The Queen’s baton will make a final stop in Orange Walk before it travels on Saturday to Guyana for that leg of the relay. Duane Moody for News Five.



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