Statement

Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture
Release Date:
Thursday, 2 September 2021 - 4:19pm

STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF EDUCATION, CULTURE, 
YOUTH AFFAIRS, FISHERIES AND AGRICULTURE

DR. THE HONOURABLE NATALIO WHEATLEY
ON THE PERFORMANCE OF VIRGIN ISLANDERS ON THE WORLD STAGE 
DURING THE ELEVENTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE 
FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2020

ATHLETES AT THE SUMMER OLYMPICS AND JUNIOR OLYMPICS

Mister Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to address this Honourable House and the people of the Virgin Islands.

On August 2, I had the opportunity to travel to Tokyo to support our awesome Virgin Islands Olympians and witness history in the making. 

I will never forget this experience as little BVI made a significant impact in the world and has left an indelible footprint in the world of sports. 

Kyron McMaster has gone down in the history books of the Virgin Islands as the BVI’s First Olympic 400M Hurdles Finalist. He now ranks as the fourth fastest man in the world in the 400M Hurdles.  Kyron was the only person from the Caribbean region in his race. He surpassed his personal best, running a time of 47.08 and establishing a new personal best and a national record.  This is an incredible and remarkable accomplishment.

Chantel Malone has gone down in the history books of the Virgin Islands as the BVI’s First Olympic Long Jump Finalist. Chantel has taken a tremendous leap forward in her career, and we expect even more great things to come. 

Elinah Phillip has gone down in the history books of the Virgin Islands as BVI’s First Olympic Swimmer 50M Freestyle. She successfully set a new National Record and Personal Best of 25.74 in her heat. As a swimmer who was at the top of all the swimmers in the Caribbean, she ranked 34th out of 81. This is an awesome accomplishment.

I want to use this forum, Mister Speaker, to once again publicly congratulate our Olympians. 

Although they did not stand on the podium to receive medals, they have made phenomenal strides and placed the Virgin Islands in a place of great pride. 

They made history.

Every Virgin Islander and I believe every Caribbean person was cheering them on as they went out to perform at every heat, semi-final, and finals. 

For Kyron and Chantel to have advanced to the finals to compete with the world’s best in their events was a feat in itself. Not many believed that little BVI, with its small population, would have achieved what we did. 

We can definitely see that we are in contention for the podium in future Games.

Mister Speaker, I also want to pay tribute to young Adaejah Hodge, who performed outstandingly and had significant wins at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Junior Olympics, which took place at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. 

Adaejah won the U-15 Girls 400m race. Hodge also won the 200, and this versatile athlete also placed third in the Long Jump event. Her awesome performance made us proud, and we see another Olympian in the making.

Mister Speaker, it takes serious preparation to get where they are. I am grateful to these athletes, their families for investing in their success. I once again commend the many coaches, sports federations, associations, and clubs who continue to develop our athletes to compete locally and regionally, and internationally.  

I also acknowledge the BVI Olympic Committee, which has an elite training programme and which is also a partner in helping develop sports in the Virgin Islands. I thank the business community that supported them as well. I also thank the Minister of Finance who provided a grant of $100,000 collectively to our athletes to help in their preparation.

Mister Speaker, my Ministry will continue to support sports development and will continue to report on our athletes as they continue to promote the Territory through their outstanding performances. 

This Government stands firm in its belief that sports is vital to the individual, social and economic wellbeing of the people of the Territory. 

Additionally, this Government stands committed to supporting and promoting sports as part of our national development. We believe that sports should be accessible to all, and this administration continues to provide financial support to our athletes.

As Minister for Sports, I pledge to continue to support our athletes in their endeavours as they develop, and I encourage all our residents to give them our full support as they represent the BVI on the world’s stage and make us proud.

This is an investment we will continue make.

We thank the public for coming out to a Territory-wide motorcade parade on Tuesday, August 3, celebrating our Olympians. We must continue to recognise and celebrate the many accomplishments of our star athletes.

BVILOVE is our athletes. 

Mister Speaker, the motorcade was held on the four main islands in the Virgin Islands. The starting points were from the following locations: 

•           Festival Grounds, Tortola
•           Gun Creek, Virgin Gorda
•           The Settlement, Anegada
•           Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke

I was not able to be there, but the live scenes captured indeed showed an overwhelming BVILOVE and Virgin Islands pride. 

Once again, I celebrate the achievements of Kyron, Chantel, Elinah, and Adaejah. 

Mister Speaker, we must use this experience as a stepping stone to accomplish new heights as we all work together to pledge our continued support to our athletes in their endeavours as they develop. 

I encourage all our residents to give them our full support as they represent the Virgin Islands on the world’s stage and make us proud.

We are getting closer to hearing 'Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands' played in the Olympic Stadium. I know and I can feel it in every fibre of my being.

Congratulations to all our athletes! God bless our athletes and the people of the Virgin Islands. 

Thank you, Mister Speaker.