Mayor Moya receives Queen’s Baton from Michael Graham
The Queen’s Relay Baton arrived to some fanfare in Belize on Wednesday afternoon at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The baton is crossing all 71 Commonwealth countries before October’s XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India. Belize is the 47th country and it arrived from the Bahamas. It was handed over to the members of Belize’s National cycling team who hoisted the two kilogram baton high and in a scorching afternoon sun proudly led a motorcade as they rode with it from the Airport to the Stella Maris School on Princess Margaret Drive.
After a short Stella Maris Campus, cyclist Byron Pope handed the baton to Michael Graham who won gold in the 200 meter race in the 2008 Special Olympics. Graham in turn handed it to Belize City Mayor Zenida Moya-Flowers. She graciously represents the common heritage shared by Commonwealth countries.
On Thursday afternoon, the Mayor will formally hand the baton to Minister of Sports, Information, and Broadcasting Hon. Elvin Penner after a parade through the streets. It heads to Belmopan on April 9th. On its way, it will stop briefly at the Youth Hostel at mile 21. Thereafter, in Belmopan it will be presented to Mayor Simeon Lopez. A party of athletes will then relay it to the Governor General Sir Colville Young and British High Commissioner Patrick Ashworth.
The Queen’s Relay Baton is state of the art. It is gold plated and weights about 1,900 grams or roughly two kilograms. Its skin is made of soils from all 28 states in India which were laminated onto the baton. A special feature is that it has been pre programmed to change colors to adjust to the country it is visiting. So when it arrived in Belize the colors changed to red, blue, and white.
More importantly, the Baton carries in it a message from the Queen Elizabeth II which has been inscribed in micro-calligraphy in an 18 karat gold leaf. The message will b read by the queen on opening night of the Commonwealth Games. Prior to the new technology, the message was written on a piece of paper. The baton is also equipped with a camera and a GPS locater to track its movements.
Belize is the 47th stop for the baton which left Buckingham in England in October. It leaves Belize on Friday for Bermuda after which it will travel to Canada and then Australia. The Commonwealth Games in India from October 3rd to the 14th Belize will be sending a contingent of 18 athletes.
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