Bermuda is ready to host this year’s NatWest Island Games, Culture and Community Minister Wayne Scott said today.

The games start next Saturday and will feature athletes from all around the world including the UK, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Greenland and Cayman Islands.

This is the first time the games have ever been held outside of Europe.

Wayne Scott, Minister of Community and Culture, and Jon Beard, chairman of the Island Games, held a joint press conference where they urged the community to support the event.

Mr Beard revealed that all events are free, except for those held at the National Sports Centre, which are $5 for adults and free for children. Primary and middle school students have received passes, while senior students should bring ID.

Mr Beard said, “We just want to encourage everyone to come out. The opening and closing ceremonies are free as well.”

Mr Scott said: “We are expecting close to 2,000 athletes, officials and visiting spectators to descend on our island.

“And the time has come for Bermuda to be on centre stage and I am pleased to declare that Bermuda is ready to host the Island Games.

“My message to all residents is simple, it’s time to roll out the red carpet and to welcome the athletes who have worked so hard and made great sacrifices to participate in these games.”

He continued: “Many of athletes have been raising money for four years for this opportunity to compete.

“It is a tremendous sacrifice for many and we want our visitors to enjoy the games and of course our famous Bermudian hospitality.

“Today, I am encouraging everyone to come and support the athletes and cheer on our local competitors.

“We hope that all residents will take advantage of the great ticket prices and go to the many venues to support the teams.

“A great deal of planning has taken place to ensure the games are a success.”

Most of the activity will be held at the National Sports Stadium including athletics, football, swimming and beach volley.

Other venues include Spanish Point Boat Club, Berkeley Institute, ER Joell Tennis Stadium, Bermuda Squash Club, BHS, Bermuda College and more.

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the National Sports Stadium.