The University of the West Indies Games currently underway at the UWI Campus in St Augustine is proving to be an ideal training ground for officials and volunteers of the Caribbean Games 2009.
Though on a much smaller scale, the UWI Games mirrors many of the processes and procedures of the larger Caribbean Games and the Local Organising
Committee, with the full co-operation of university officials, are using the UWI Games as a dry run to test some of their systems and procedures as well as staff capabilities.
Among the first to benefit from the UWI Games experience were the protocol and volunteer staff of CG09. They got a taste of what it will be like to
meet, greet and organise athletes, officials and dignitaries upon arrival at Piarco airport. While 1500 athletes are expected at CG09, the teams and their supporters from Mona and Cave Hill campuses numbered just under 350.
Marshalled by CG09 National Olympic Committee Services Manager, Anesha Caruth and Miranda Dookran-Williams, CG09 Manager – Volunteers, several
teams of CG09 officials and volunteers were on hand at Piarco airport between May 20 and May 25 to assist the UWI campus officials meet the arriving athletes.
While the Cave Hill contingent arrived from Barbados on several flights over the course of two days, the Mona team arrived en masse on a specially chartered flight from Jamaica. This mass arrival of 176 athletes, officials and supporters on a single flight, was a stern test for the CG09 staff who
proved themselves equal to the task. Several meetings among airport, UWI and CG09 staff were held in advance of the athletes’ arrival. Arising out of
these meetings, special arrangements were put in place beforehand with airport security, customs and immigration resulting in the visitors’ expeditious passage through the system. The special system worked so smoothly that the athletes, officials and their supporters were soon boarding transport to the St. Augustine campus with the minimum of fuss and hassle.
According to CG09 NOC Services Manager, Anesha Caruth, the key to the successful handling of athlete arrivals is, “Planning, proper planning. That things went so smoothly here over the past couple of days is due to proper planning and implementation. Meeting beforehand to work out procedures; ensuring everyone involved, airport security, customs and immigration, CG09 volunteers, the university reps, even the porters and the drivers, everyone was aware and following the same script. And then of course, implementation, adhering to the plan.”
As to the volunteers, a key component of the CG09 staff, their manager Ms Dookran-Williams expressed satisfaction at being able to test her people in a real life situation. The selection process has been exhaustive. And while we’ve been training our volunteers for weeks and are pretty confident of their abilities, it is gratifying and indeed re-assuring to see them perform their duties and functions so well. We are grateful to UWI for allowing us to use their inter-campus event to test our skills.”
The CG09 staff and volunteers will get another chance to practice their skills when the Mona and Cave Hill contingents depart after the games end on