OAKTREE Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Don Deveaux presents a $300,000 cheque to BAAA president Drumeco Archer as other members look on.
OAKTREE Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Don Deveaux speaks about their sponsorship.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#WITH the return of the CARIFTA Games in April to the Bahamas for the ninth time in 50 years, the Oaktree Medical Center came on board as the major sponsor with a donation of $300.000.
#The presentation was made by Oaktree Medical Center’s Director Sr Don Deveaux and his wife, Kristi, the general manager, made the presentation to the CARIFTA Local Organising Committee’s chief executive officer Lynden Maycock.
#Among those present were Mike Sands, president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC), under whose jurisdiction the games fall under; Drumeco Archer, president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations and Rev. Harrison Thompson, a consultant at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
#After prayers were offered by Pastor Vaughn Cash and a rendition was made by Nikita Thompson, Deveaux made the cheque presentation, saying that while it appears to be a “large amount of money, saying the lives of our youth is priceless.”
#He noted that he and his wife stand as strong advocates of sports and youth develop and the CARIFTA Games embodies strength, unity and team work. He noted they are not self-made and have crossed the finish line on their own, but they stand on the shoulders of so many who have selfishly helped to make this archipelago a world-class gem.
#“When thinking about making a sound investment, some may say, why not technology, why not other important areas,” Deveaux said. “For us here at Oaktree Medical Center, we believe, not only in caring and providing compassionate medical care, but most importantly we believe in investing in the human capital, investing in the human soul, which to us represents the youth of this nation.”
#Sports, according to Deveuax, has the power to change lives, so they want to start with the youth.
#“If we don’t pour into them, how can we build the future,” he asserted. “The social decadence that we have seen throughout the country over the years is contributed to the lack of youth development, so why not change that.”
#Since the games got started in 1972, Deveaux said founder Austin Sealy started something that caught a fire and since 1977 when they honoured him, the Bahamas has won eight of the Austin Sealy awards as the most outstanding athlete for each of the past 48 editions of the games.
#He congratulated Maryann Higgs-Clarke (1978), Lavern Eve (1982-1983), Pauline Davis-Thompson (1984), Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (1995), Anthonique Strachan (2011-12) and Shaunae Miller-Uibo (2013), who are strong women and four of them were St Augustine’s College alumnus like himself.
#“This donation truly represents a sacrifice,” he said. “Many people see the success, but the sacrifices that goes on behind the scene. My wife Kristi and I believe that success requires faith, hard work and dedication. We believe that through God, we can heal this nation through life-changing events like the CARIFTA Games.”
#He said Oaktree Medical Center is a community centre and as the Bahamas has struck gold in hosting the 50th anniversary of the games, they are delighted to work with the organising committee and the government of the Bahamas to see the event become a success.
#“Thanks again for the partnership. Our team here at Oaktree is ready and excited for this event to come together,” he said. “We invite the country and corporate Bahamas and Caricom to support this initiative.
#“Together, we are limitless. God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Come go with us. Let’s cross the finish line together.”
#Maycock, playing a rendition of a song that will be the war cry for the Bahamas as they go after the Jamaicans and the Trinidadians at the games and he ensured Deveaux that the Lord will enlarge his territory because of the tremendous donation that he made to the LOC for CARIFTA 2023.
#“Dr Deveaux would have given 10 percent of what the team will be receiving this year in sponsorship,” Maycock said. “That sponsorship level is three million dollars from corporate Bahamas.
#“November 30th, those financial statements will be posted for the Bahamian people to see where their money will be spent. So for the first time the people of the Bahamas will be able to go to the CARIFTA website page and see how their monies will be spent.”
#Maycock said they anticipate the Bahamas government providing funding for the capital works, but the support of corporate Bahamas will take care of the operations of the games, which he described will be like none ever held.
#“Oaktree Medical Center is a world-class medical facility that provides high quality, holistic patient centred, affordable medical services,” Maycock said.
#“As the emblem of their logo, the Oaktree represents strength and resilience. Oaktree Medical Center is a shade for those who need help and support.”
#Sands said he’s delighted to be a part of the historic presentation by Oaktree to the LOC for CARIFTA 2023.
#“In my knowledge, this is the first time that a medical institute has come on board to the extent that Oaktree has come on board,” Sands said. “Again, I want to thank you on behalf of NACAC, which encompasses 36 nations in the region.”
#He noted that he found one of the original founders of CARIFTA, which came out of Caricom, and he intends to introduce the Trinidadian to the Bahamas when the games are held here in April, along with Austin Sealy, whom many regard as the founder of the games.
#“This is going to be the most exciting CARIFTA Games that we have ever had,” Sands stated.
#“I’m satisfied that these CARIFTA Games will be the best ever and I want to congratulate the LOC executive officer Lynden Maycock and his team for the tremendous work that they are doing.”
#Archer said while we live in a country whenever you turn on the television, there’s always a report about crime and the heinous events that take place in what he calls the Goliath of our day. But he noted that the Deveauxs have become the David in their commitment to the country. “He (Don) has an amazing story and if he had to tell you his story, he was a troubled boy, who was put out of school from the Bahamas Baptist College and he went to St Augustine’s College, but his family had financial challenges attending SAC,” Archer said.
#“It was a time in his life when things went very low and he has emerged from being hopeless to seeing a ray of hope. Through hard work, we all can achieve it. Track and field is no different. It’s a sport rich with culture and heritage, but it is also a sport where we attract the grassroot every day.”
#With the assistance of companies like Oaktree Medical Center, the BAAA is able to carry out its mandate to assist in the development of these athletes and he commended the Deveauxs for making their contribution to CARIFTA 2023.
#Rev. Thompson, in joining in the chorus in saluting the Deveauxs and Oaktree, called it a tremendous blessing on their behalf to support the young people and the country’s athletes.
#“If ever a time we need corporate citizens to come on board and support the athletes, the time is now,” Thompson said.
#“So on behalf of the Honourable Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and by extension, the government of the Bahamas, we want to say sir, congratulations.
#“And as we go into our 50th anniversary of the Bahamas and the 50th anniversary of the Bahamas that the Bahamas will bring home gold this year in our golden anniversary.
#“To our friends in the Caribbean, we invite you to come. We want you to come and enjoy the scenery and everything, but you will get beat.”
#“Golden Girl” Tonique Williams, who heads the media team for the LOC, said she had met the Deveauxs and the entire Oaktree team and she was very impressed with the work that they are doing.
#“He spoke extensively about his work here and Oaktree Medical. There’s so much that he’s doing, but he was able to share from his heart. When I heard that Oaktree Medical was the title sponsor, just reiterated what I already felt,” she said.
#“This is a business, led by Don and his wife, who have a heart for people and they have a heart for the youth. So I’m proud to stand beside him as he donates this cheque to CARIFTA where I tell people I got my start right here at CARIFTA in 1992. CARIFTA was what really propelled me in track and field and so I want to say congratulations to you and your entire team.”
#An emotional Kennedy Knowles, a student of St John’s College and a member of the Red Line Athletics Track Club, headed by Tito Moss, said it’s just an honour to be a part of the track and field and hopefully the team that will represent the Bahamas at the games.
#“I feel having the games here is going to be very exciting. We haven’t had it since 2018, so I’m looking forward to running in the trials and hopefully I can make the team,” she said. “It’s here, so I believe our athletes will show up and show out. So I’m really excited that it’s going to be here.”