Oaktree Medical comes on board as the title sponsor of the CARIFTA Games
With the 50th staging of the CARIFTA Games about 150 days out, the first meaningful step in the event returning to The Bahamas took place yesterday morning with the introduction of the title sponsor.
Since opening its doors for business, Oaktree Medical Center, under the ownership of the husband and wife team of Dr. Don and Kristi Deveaux, has been a huge proponent of sports and the development of the youth in The Bahamas. Now, they are coming on board as the title sponsor of the 50th CARIFTA Games, set for the Easter holiday weekend, April 8-10, 2023, at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau.
The junior regional championships, which will
coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary of independence and the 50th anniversary of CARICOM (Caribbean Community), is arguably the most celebrated and festive annual sports event in the region.
As the title sponsor, Oaktree Medical has donated $300,000 toward the operational cost of the event. According to Mike Sands, the Bahamian president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), as far as he remembers, it is the most significant contribution by a medical institution toward the staging of the CARIFTA Games in the 49-year history of the event. It is also a tenth of the $3 million total budget for athletics for the 2022-2023 season, inclusive of capital works and infrastructure.
NACAC, which governs athletics in 36 countries in the region, is the owner of the annual CARIFTA Games.
“The biggest challenge for any sports event is always sponsorship,” said Sands. “This is very historic. It is the first time, to my memory, that a medical institution would have come on board in such a significant way. It is all about healthy living and healthy lifestyles in our sport, and the fact that a medical institution has come on board to be the title sponsor really enforces that. I am pleased to see this initiative. We are very grateful for that. I am satisfied that this edition of the CARIFTA Games will be the best version ever. I just want to take this opportunity to invite the corporate community to come on board and enjoy this ride because it is going to be a very exciting ride.”
To justify the investment, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2023 CARIFTA Games Lynden Maycock said, for the first time in the hosing of the event in The Bahamas, there will be financial statements posted on the games website leading up to April 2023. He said the postings will begin at the end of this month and they are moving full steam ahead in the planning stages.
Medical Director at Oaktree Dr. Don Deveaux said it is an honor for them to give back to the youth and assist in the overall development of young people in the country.
“This seems to be a large amount of money, but saving our youth is priceless,” he said. “My wife and I stand here as strong advocates of sports and youth development, and the CARIFTA Games, for us, embodies the spirit of unity, strength and teamwork. None of us can boast that we have crossed the finish line on our own. We stand on the shoulders of so many who have selflessly given of themselves to make The Bahamas world-class.
“At Oaktree Medical, we believe not only in caring and compassionate care, but most importantly, in investing in human capital and investing in the human soul. That, for us, is a top investment. Sports has the transformative power to change lives, so why not start with the youth. If we don’t pour into them, how can we build the future.”
His message is one that is supported by all of the speakers during the launch of the 2023 CARIFTA Games yesterday.
Drumeco Archer, who is seeking a second consecutive term as the president of the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA), and who, too, should be congratulated for reigning over the local athletics body at a time when it would have received its largest investment toward the CARIFTA Games by a medical partner, said he is ecstatic and looks forward to rest of Corporate Bahamas coming on board.
“Track and field is a sport that is rich with culture and heritage and it is a sport in which we attract grassroots children everyday,” said Archer. “We are so grateful to corporate partners like Oaktree Medical who ensure that the lifeline of this country survives. Sports is all about a leveled playing field which never denies anyone who is talented. The ambition of our federation is not only that we produce good athletes, but that we also produce good citizens. This is the start. To Dr. Deveaux and the staff of Oaktree Medical, on behalf of the BAAA, we are indebted to you for giving the assurance that this CARIFTA Games will be like no other. This should be an inspiration to all corporate citizens to give more and to do more during this time of need.”
Sports Consultant in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Harrison Thompson said that if there is ever a time when we as a country need corporate citizens to come on board and support our athletes, the time is now.
“On behalf of the minister, and by extension the government of The Bahamas, we want to say congratulations and we look forward to The Bahamas bringing home gold. This is our golden anniversary and we are looking for gold – nothing less. To our friends in the Caribbean, we invite you to our shores, but you will be defeated. Congratulations again,” he said.
Senior Director of Media for the LOC of the 2023 CARIFTA Games, herself a former World and Olympic Champion, Tonique Williams, said it is at CARIFTA where she got her athletic start. She commended Dr. Don and Kristi Deveaux and Oaktree Medical for stepping up to the plate yesterday.
“This is a business that has a heart for people, and a heart for the youth. I am really touched by this and I congratulate Oaktree Medical as our title sponsor,” she said.
Dr. Don Deveaux said the donation represents a sacrifice for them, but it is one that they are glad to make toward the development of the youth of the nation through the CARIFTA Games.
“Many of the nation’s top athletes once participated in the CARIFTA Games. This event is about exposure for our young athletes, competing against their Caribbean brothers and sisters and it gives them wings to soar, showing them that they could be top athletes representing the 242 (area code for The Bahamas),” said Dr. Deveaux. “Many people see the success but not the sacrifices that go on behind the scenes. Success requires faith, dedication and hard work. We believe that through God, through tangible efforts, we could begin to heal this nation through life-altering events like the CARIFTA Games.
“At Oaktree, we are more than a medical center, we are a community center. The Bahamas has struck gold as the host country for the 50th CARIFTA Games, and as the title sponsor, Oaktree Medical is elated to work with the organizing committee and the government of The Bahamas to help this event succeed. We are excited and ready for this event to come together. Together we are limitless. Come with us. Let’s cross the finish line together.”
The Bahamas finished second behind Jamaica at the 2022 CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica, ending the three-day meet with four gold, six silver and seven bronze for a total of 17 medals. Jamaica won its 36th straight CARIFTA track and field championship with a record 45 gold medals, 29 silver and 18 bronze for a record total of 92 medals.
The Bahamas is set to host CARIFTA track and field for a record ninth time in 2023. The country hosted the junior regional athletics competition in 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1992, 2002, 2013 and 2018.
The last time The Bahamas hosted, it finished second to Jamaica with 35 total medals – six gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze.
The 50th edition of the CARIFTA Games is set for the Easter holiday weekend in 2023 – April 8-10 – at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.