It is not very often that there is an occasion that is important enough to warrant the personal reception of both the country’s Governor General and Prime Minister, but on Saturday the welcome party assembled at the Robert Bradshaw Airport saw both Sir Edmund Lawrence and Dr. Denzil Douglas making time to join the dignitaries gathered to welcome the visiting team from FIFA and Coco Cola.
The Prime Minister said he was convinced that with the involvement of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Trophy Tour, the sport of football in St. Kitts and Nevis would become massive as the event serves as an inspiration to our young sportsmen.
This is very good for our federation he said, because we all understand the link between sports and character, sports and life skills and so much more.
“Everyone, even those who are not sports enthusiasts, understands the drama and the excitement that this FIFA World Cup trophy has generated over the years and all around the world, as one nation after the other has vied to win this symbol of football supremacy, football prowess and brilliance” stated the Prime Minister.
Dr. Douglas added that as the excitement and the anticipation begins to build, as the world looks toward Brazil 2014, sports enthusiasts in St. Kitts and Nevis, and those involved in football in particular, are understandably thrilled that St. Kitts & Nevis was included in this FIFA World Cup 2013 Trophy Tour, as this symbol of football genius makes its way back to Brazil and the drama that awaits us there next year.
He said his government and people were therefore delighted to welcome the trophy and the officials.
His views were shared by the Minister of Sport Glenn Phillip who pointed out that “Winning the World Cup Trophy is every footballer’s dream and its arrival in St. Kitts & Nevis is an opportunity to reconnect with one’s football ambitions and to appreciate that dreams can come true.”
“For this I urge all young footballers to dream big, so that St. Kitts and Nevis can take its rightful place as a great football nation. We have an abundance of talent and we must put in place the proper structures that will take the sports to the next level” the Minister challenged.
He also noted the important role that Coco Cola has played in the development of sports in the federation.
A special Gala was also held on Saturday night at the St. Kitts Marriott, where scores of local dignitaries, government officials and sports executives and corporate sponsors took the opportunity to have their photos taken with the trophy.
A special cultural presentation was put on by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Authority highlighting various aspects of the country’s rich traditions.
Remarks were made at the event by the Operations Director for the Caribbean for Coco Cola, Mr. Hector Mantellini. The Master of Ceremony for the Gala was Mr. Val Henry, a member of the local organizing committee.
Included in the audience were Governor General Sir Edmund & Lady Hulda Lawrence, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, Speaker of the National Assembly, Curtis Martin, Minister of Sport, Glenn Phillip and other parliamentarians including Marcella Liburd and Senator Vincent Byron Jr. and Mrs. Byron. The resident ambassador for Brazil was also amongst the dignitaries.
Also present were FIFA Representative Mr. Jan Schetters, Coco Cola’s Global Executive Mrs. Anna Maria Gazda, President of the St. Kitts & Nevis Football Association, Anthony Johnson and Chief Executive of the local bottler of Coco Cola, Mr. Ancel Soohkai.
The delegation is due to leave St. Kitts and Nevis on Monday, headed for St. Lucia.