Our Readers' Opinions
June 4, 2004
Miss SVG Pageant – An Expose

By Kay R.A. Bacchus-Browne

While I acknowledge that the Miss SVG steering committee must have worked extremely hard to produce last Saturday’s pageant, I feel compelled to reveal my experiences assisting Keisha Bacchus to prepare for this show. (Though we share the same surname, we are not related.)
My sister Hyacinth Bacchus-Pestaina and I were co-opted by Marcia Regisford and Ann Joshua to work with Keisha. {{more}}These ladies adopted Keisha as their own daughter and encouraged her. This sister, who resides in Antigua, has produced several winners from various shows there, while I invariably bring home the best talent award. Fully cognizant of Keisha’s limitations, we endeavoured to give her our fullest support.

Problems with SVG Committee

It appears that the Miss SVG committee has confused its role as being one “controlling” the show rather than “coordinating” it. When I examine the composition of this committee, however, I must ask the question, “Is this by design to ‘engineer’ the results desired by the consumer?” By prescribing all the important elements of the show, they make it very easy for them to “choose” the person they wish to win.
Since this is a competition, the contestants should be free to choose their own designs, colour, music, etc. to enhance their presentation to the maximum. Instead, the committee stipulated the design of the swim wear, selected the colour each contestant should wear, purchased and allocated accessories and selected even the very music they should use (most inappropriate music for the evening gown section, absolutely no drama).
Having designed and made the evening gown for Keisha, Bacchus-Pestaina sought and obtained the approval of the committee to pre-record a special introduction for Keisha’s evening gown complete with the music. This CD was given to the producers and Keisha was very excited about displaying her gown as she had rehearsed. However, on the night, someone, I am told, instructed the relevant person not to play Keisha’s CD and did not even have the courtesy to inform us. As her name was announced she stood there waiting for the cue which never came! The MC literally thrust her on stage with the result that she went out there totally disoriented and perplexed. Since the committee gave permission for the CD to be used, who instructed the last minute change and why?

Attitude of some members of the committee

Some persons have been on the SVG committee for so long they have assumed proprietary rights. They came up with the bright idea that only one person was permitted backstage per contestant (a directive from the minister I am told?). So, when my sister turned up backstage with Keisha’s chaperone, they were greeted by Avis Yorke who stood like a roaring lion waiting to devour its prey. Yorke bellowed at them as she blocked their path and declared that only one person could enter the dressing room, never mind that some chosen contestants had more than one person.
In my case, while I was busy dressing Keisha for her talent section, a security guard was sent to me on three occasions demanding that I or my sister should leave. I was even threatened with physical removal. All this in front of the contestant! Did anyone care what effect this had on Keisha? If certain members of the committee can behave so antagonistically to supporters of a contestant, I must echo Candy’s query, “Do beauty pageants exploit our young ladies?” I ask also, should a contestant be sleeping at the house of a prominent member of the steering committee? Should that contestant be chaperoned by a prominent member of the Miss Carival committee? Why are Vincentians so docile? How long will they allow their daughters to be used by the Miss SVG committee who spearhead a dummy show when their pre-determined chosen one invariably wins? If the committee identifies an individual they wish to represent St. Vincent at the Miss Carival show and beyond, why not just train and groom that person openly, and abolish the farcical Miss SVG shows?

The committee needs vamping

Any committee charged with producing a Miss SVG show, who believe they must bring in an international artiste to perform for one and a half hours in order to make the show a success, needs vamping. To subject an audience to six hours of programming is thoughtless and irresponsible. More is not necessarily better.

Keisha is a winner

I congratulate Miss Javorne Williams and urge her to exploit her scholarship to the fullest. I believe she will. I find it strange, though, that someone who did not win in any of the categories, or even place second in the categories could emerge the winner. The time has come for publication of the judges individual scores. This maybe necessary to preserve the integrity of the judges.
I must say I have no quarrel with the judges regarding Keisha’s results. Nevertheless, I maintain that she is a winner because the many obstacles she encountered have made her a more confident, determined, “heartistic” person, even more committed to fulfilling her goal of making a difference in the lives of homeless abandoned youths.

Keep on striving Keisha!