By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Journalist
WITH the CARIFTA Games returning to the Bahamas in April for the ninth time in 50 years, Oaktree Medical Center became the lead sponsor with a $300,000 donation.
The presentation was made by the Director of Oaktree Medical Center, Sr. Don Deveaux, and his wife, Kristi, the Chief Executive, made the presentation to the Chief Executive of the Local CARIFTA Organizing Committee, Lynden Maycock.
Among those present were Mike Sands, president of North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NACAC), under whose jurisdiction the games fall; Drumeco Archer, President of the Association of Sports Associations of the Bahamas and Reverend Harrison Thompson, consultant to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
After prayers were offered by Pastor Vaughn Cash and an interpretation was given by Nikita Thompson, Deveaux presented the check, saying that although it appears to be a “large sum of money, to say that the lives of our young people are priceless”.
He noted that he and his wife are strong supporters of sport and youth development and that the CARIFTA Games embody strength, unity and teamwork. He noted that they are not self-taught and crossed the finish line on their own, but that they rest on the shoulders of so many people who have selfishly contributed to making this archipelago a jewel of world class.
“When you think about making a good investment, some may say, why not technology, why not other important areas,” Deveaux said. “For us here at Oaktree Medical Center, we not only believe in caring and providing compassionate medical care, but more importantly, we believe in investing in human capital, investing in the human soul, which is for we the youth of this nation. ”
Sport, according to Deveuax, has the power to change lives, so they want to start with young people.
“If we don’t invest them, how can we build the future,” he said. “The social decay that we have seen across the country over the years has contributed to the lack of development of young people, so why not change that.”
Since the games began in 1972, Deveaux said founder Austin Sealy started something that caught fire and since 1977 when they honored him, the Bahamas have won eight of the Austin Sealy awards as an athlete most notable for each of the last 48 editions of the games.
He praised 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 alumni of St Augustine’s College like him.
“This donation is truly a sacrifice,” he said. “A lot of people see the success, but the sacrifices that are made behind the scenes. My wife Kristi and I believe that success takes faith, hard work and dedication. We believe that by God we can heal this nation through life changing events like the CARIFTA Games.
He said Oaktree Medical Center is a community center and as the Bahamas won gold hosting the 50th anniversary of the games, they are excited to work with the organizing committee and the government of the Bahamas to see the event become a success.
“Thank you 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 Bahamas and Caricom businesses to support this initiative.
“Together we are limitless. God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Come with us. Let’s cross the finish line together.
Maycock, playing a rendition of a song that will be the battle cry of the Bahamas as they pursue the Jamaicans and Trinidadians in the games and he assured Deveaux that the Lord will expand his territory due to the huge gift that did at the COL for CARIFTA 2023.
“Dr Deveaux would have given 10% of what the team will receive this year in sponsorship,” Maycock said. “This level of sponsorship is three million dollars from Bahamian companies.
“On November 30, these financial statements will be posted for the Bahamian people to see where their money will be spent. So, for the first time, Bahamians will be able to go to the CARIFTA website page and see how their money will be spent.
Maycock said they expect the Bahamian government to fund the capital works, but support from the Bahamas company will support the operations of the games, which he says will be unlike any other.
“Oaktree Medical Center is a world-class medical facility that provides high-quality, patient-centered, and affordable holistic medical services,” Maycock said.
“As an emblem of their logo, the oak represents strength and resilience. Oaktree Medical Center is a shadow for those who need help and support.
Sands said he was thrilled to be part of Oaktree’s historic COL presentation for CARIFTA 2023.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time a medical institute has joined us as far as Oaktree has joined us,” Sands said. “Once again, I want to thank you on behalf of NACAC, which includes 36 nations in the region.”
He noted that he had found one of the original founders of CARIFTA, who came out of Caricom, and that he intends to introduce the Trinidadian to the Bahamas when the games are held here in April, along with Austin Sealy , who many consider to be the founder of the games.
“These will be the most exciting CARIFTA Games we’ve ever had,” Sands said.
“I am confident that these CARIFTA Games will be the best ever and I want to congratulate LOC General Manager Lynden Maycock and his team for the tremendous job they are doing.”
Archer said that while we live in a country every time you turn on the television there is always a report of the crime and heinous events taking place in what he calls the Goliath of our time. But he noted that the Deveaux have become the Davids in their commitment to the country. “He (Don) has an amazing story and if he were to tell you his story, he was a troubled boy, who dropped out of Bahamas Baptist College and he went to St Augustine’s College, but his family was struggling financially. .attend SCA,” Archer said.
“It was a time in his life when things were going very low and he came out of despair to see a ray of hope. With hard work, we can all achieve this. Athletics is no different. It is a sport rich in culture and heritage, but it is also a sport where grassroots football is attracted every day.
With the help of companies like Oaktree Medical Center, the BAAA is able to carry out its mandate to help develop these athletes and it congratulated the Deveaux for their contribution to CARIFTA 2023.
Reverend Thompson, joining the chorus in greeting the Deveaux and Oaktree, called it a tremendous blessing on their behalf to support the nation’s youth and athletes.
“If we ever need corporate citizens to join us and support athletes, now is the time,” said Thompson.
“So on behalf of the Honorable Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and by extension the Government of the Bahamas, we want to say, sir, congratulations.
“And as we enter our 50th anniversary of the Bahamas and the 50th anniversary of the Bahamas, the Bahamas will bring gold this year on 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’ll be beaten.
“Golden Girl” Tonique Williams, who leads the LOC media team, said she met the Deveaux and the entire Oaktree team and was very impressed with the work they do.
“He spoke at length about his work here and about Oaktree Medical. There are so many things he does, but he was able to share from his heart. When I heard Oaktree Medical was the title sponsor, I just reiterated how I already felt,” she said.
“This is a business run by Don and his wife, who have a heart for people and they have a heart for young people, so I am proud to stand by his side as he donates this check to CARIFTA where I tell people that I got my start here at CARIFTA in 1992. CARIFTA was what really got me into athletics and so I want to congratulate you and your whole team.
An emotional Kennedy Knowles, a student at St John’s College and a member of the Red Line Athletics Track Club, run by Tito Moss, said it was just an honor to be part of the athletics and hopefully the team who will represent the Bahamas. games.
“I think the games here are going to be very exciting. We haven’t had it since 2018 so I’m looking forward to the trials and hopefully I can make the team,” she said “It’s here, so I believe our athletes will show up and show up. So I’m really excited that it’s here.”