NACAC President Mike Sands announced that the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Games or CARIFTA 2020 that take place in Hamilton, Bermuda is postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A letter penned by Sands on the www.athleticsnacac.org website on April 14:
14 April 2020
Our Executive convened, online, last Thursday, 9 April 2020. One of the major decisions taken at the meeting was to cancel the Carifta Games 2020. The factors that led to this decision were:
- The COVID-19 pandemic and its overall impact on the host country as well as all members of the Carifta Family.
- The impact on government and private sector plans and budgets for 2020 and perhaps, beyond.
- Uncertainty in respect of the re-convening of international travel
- Closure of schools and sports facilities thereby impacting athletes’ ability to train and adequately prepare for a delayed edition of the Carifta Games in 2020
- Delayed examinations for students at the pre-College stage of their careers
- World Athletics has already announced the postponement and/or cancellation of several of its own competitions for 2020, including the World Junior (U-20) Championships.
The Executive, therefore, agreed to have me, in my capacity as President, engage in discussions with our member federation in Bermuda, the government of Bermuda, the National Olympic Committee (the local representative of Panam Sports) as well as sponsors of the Games of 2020, to ascertain their thinking in respect of the postponement of the Games to Easter of 2021.
The Executive thought that the aforementioned decision would still mean that Bermuda would host the 49th edition of our Carifta Games, leaving the door open for Guyana to continue planning to host the 50th-anniversary edition but in 2022. Discussions have begun with all stakeholders in Guyana, craving their understanding and support, given that Bermuda did nothing to lose the annual event and is therefore deserving of being given the opportunity to make good on its commitment, albeit, one year later.
The NACAC Executive believes that our decision is in the best collective interest of our Carifta Family and allows us all an opportunity to support both Bermuda and Guyana in the face of these most trying times. We have an excellent opportunity to work more deliberately together, to show to the world that our annual Carifta Games are indeed the very best Junior track and field competition, globally.
Today, 14 April 2020, NACAC once more appeals to all of its stakeholders to heed the advice of our medical fraternity and adhere to the established protocols aimed at enhancing our capacity to defeat COVID-19.