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Miss SVG pageant in review

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By Correspondent

On Saturday May 29 2004, in front of a maximum capacity audience, Javorne Williams of Enhams – Ms Mariner’s Inn/Empire Cigarettes was crowned Ms SVG 2004.
The judges, who included Baker/Entrepreneur Ali Medjahed, Former Speaker of the House Nolwyn McDowall, Ms Zoila Ellis-Browne and Ernestine Sutherland, were given the task of deciding between 8 contestants in 4 categories. {{more}}The categories were Swimsuit, Talent, Evening Gown and Speech.
The Swimsuit Category was won by Deon Paul – Ms National Lottery/Set For Life, a 19-year-old Community College Student from the Marriaqua Valley, who, according to newspaper polls, went into the competition as the apparent favourite to win. This segment was out of a total of 25 points with Poise & Carriage, Figure and Elegance carrying the most points of 8, 7 and 6, respectively.
The keenly contested Talent Segment saw a wide variety of talents including singing, dancing, piano playing, pan playing and drama. This category was won by Andrea Antrobus in a talent piece written and produced by Vynette Fredericks, who has written talents for the likes of Ms SVG 2002 LaFerne Fraser, the St Vincent and the Grenadines representative to the Miss Universe Pageant 2004. Talent carried a total of 20 points with the 6 points allotted to Presentation and 7 points to Execution.
The Evening Gown Category, which had a potential score of 25 points, saw a renewed standard of elegance, especially after the universally appalling collection of gowns in last year’s competition. This year saw the work of many regional fashion stalwarts including Peter Elias, Claudia Pegus and Heather Jones of Trinidad and Tobago. It was the gown designed by Heather Jones and worn by Ms Andrea Antrobus that came out on top in Evening wear. There were also contributions made by Shazi Chalon of St Lucia, Antigua-based Vincentian Hyacinth Bacchus-Pestina and local designer Kimya Glasgow, who designed the gown among others, worn by the winner and had previously designed the gown of Ms SVG 2001 Michelle Fife.
In the Speech segment,won by talented 19-year-old Miss Roy’s Inn Janelle Allen, the contestants were roundly criticized for sounding extremely rehearsed and artificial in their answers. It was thought to be a sad statement that even the best and the brightest that our country had to offer, found it difficult to think naturally on their feet and answer honestly any question that may be thrown at them.
Many of the amateur “judges” at the show, while surprised by the end result certainly felt that 19-year- old Williams, the overall winner, was able to win through consistency. Many of the other contestants faltered in their efforts to maintain a steady standard throughout the show. Javorne’s laid-back attitude and style seemed to be a winning combination.
With her win, the Community College student has unwittingly spawned a new round of controversy that seems forever attached to beauty queen pageants in St Vincent & the Grenadines. One seems to be that she won no judged categories. Many people could not understand the mathematics of consistency that helped her to win. There is also a whispered debate as to whether or not black skin, especially if the wearer of that black skin is not a member of the petit-bourgeoisie, is a suitable representative of our nation.
Perhaps it has become accepted that our country can only be represented by the fair complected and or middle-classed. We seemed to have reverted to the dark ages where people openly tell you that true beauty is defined by a particular skin shade. It seems evident that we are still a society where power is defined by fading creams, genetics and racial make-up and not by ability. Surely this mentality must be questioned, after all what does it say about us as a people.
Hopefully Williams will be able to rise above the ignorance of her detractors and prove the nay-sayers wrong. While always an underdog in pre-contest debates, she apparently was well perceived among the younger spectators, as her demeanour and decorum reflected that of a positive role model, as is evidenced by her being awarded the Community Spirit Award at the show.
Kudos must be given to the Beauty Shows Committee and the Carnival Development Corporation for attracting the biggest crowd that Carnival City, Victoria Park has seen in years. Kudos too must be given for the renewed standard of talented, beautiful and intelligent contestants it attracted.
And though it is apparent that they were attracted by the prospect of winning a long awaited scholarship among the prizes up for grabs, there were many aspects of the show still in need of great improvement.
Many patrons joked that they should have been paid for attending since the timing of the show, which started at 8pm and continued into the morning, nearly constituted that of a work day. It was roundly expressed that there were too many items slated to start the show and therefore they added unnecessarily to the length. This includes a very long fireworks display and a fairly sloppy and complicated opening dance number by the contestants. There was also a guest appearance by the ever-delightful Avenue Dancers that would more likely have been better situated at a slot in the show that would have given the contestants needed changing time between segments.
Perhaps too, in keeping with international standards, guest artistes should be limited to one song each. Additionally there should be no need for the headlining act, no matter how wonderful they may be, to sing anymore than 3 songs. It is a well-known fact that this time is needed to tabulate scores. It is incredible to think that in this time of capable spreadsheet computer programs that this process should take any significant amount of time, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
This year as in many previous years patrons began to lose patience and many were seen to be napping in the seats, despite the heroic and rousing efforts of featured artiste Eric Donaldson.
It has been suggested perhaps that it is time for the current Committee to invite some new and young blood into the mix to deal with show production. This includes more experienced chaperones and enlisting the various established modelling agencies. Also there have been many calls for a review of the scoring system as some complained that the flaws in the judging process stem from this. It is also questionable as to whether the judges are properly briefed on the scoring system.

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