Low turnout, high disappointment at Miss West Indies

POSTED: 02/17/15 12:15 AM

St. Maarten -Guadeloupe’s Alex Rabolion is the new Ms. West Indies Queen after beating out thirteen other delegates to win the coveted crown on Sunday morning in Galisby. The 26-year old beautician was one of the early favorites heading into the pageant that was held at Carnival Village in French St. Martin on Valentine’s Day.

However she faced stiff competition from audience darlings, Ms. St. Lucia- Oneka Mckoy, Ms. Bahamas-Chantel O’Brian and Ms. US Virgin Islands-  Temisha Libert. Throughout the night, the beauty ambassador exuded confidence, grace and poise, looking completely comfortable in her strides. It was plain to see that she was an experienced competitor, having won the Miss United Nations 2013 in Miami, Miss Guadeloupe International 2013 and 3rd runner up Miss Lamentin 2012. But even Rabolion herself was shocked when her name was announced as winner.

An angry crowd reacted by protesting the judges’ decision; some remained silent in disbelief while others called for a recount; the majority claimed that Ms. St. Lucia was slighted.

The new face of the West Indies holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Electronics (2006) and Foreign Languages (2009), as well as a CAP Beauty Cosmetics (2011). Passionate about foreign languages and cultures, fashion, travel, nature, cooking and extreme sports, she was asked to identify her favorite language. Her response; Mandarin since it captures the richness of the Asian culture amongst other things. Though starting 2 hours later than scheduled, the pageant was entertaining, showcasing the delegates in an introductory segment called Sexy in White, National  Costume, Talent, Swimsuit, Evening Gown and Interview segments. This was interspersed with performances by Rhythm and Groove Dance Group, Rikishio and Lil Niko Phox, Tamila Chance, The Odd Brothers and moderators: Trilogy and Ms. Mature Queen 2014 Anna Rabess-Richardson.

While on the ground, there was poor crowd turnout, the entire event was being streamed live online via Come See TV.  According to the organizers viewer numbers climbed steadily, surpassing the 3000 number less than half way into the show.

The five panel jury, adjudged Ms. Cuba as first runner up and Ms. Mexico as second runner up, much to the chagrin of the audience as well. Ms. Cuba did belly dancing for talent, appeared in a  white Cuban Carnival costume representing shifting power and looked elegantly captivating in an emerald green rhinestone one shoulder, mermaid dress.

SUPPORT

The pageant was touted as one of the highlights of the 2015 French Carnival Season but if audience support was anything to go by, the event did not attract many pageant enthusiasts or local culture lovers. The festival village was hauntingly empty and if not for the commitment of booth holders to remain open and the sprinkling of patrons dotting the grounds, the delegates may have very well been performing before an empty arena.

The Miss West Indies Pageant Organization also publicized 22 delegates for this year’s contest but only 14 participated on pageant night. The pageant made a return to the St. Maarten scene after a five year hiatus. Now the new Queen will be expected to champion or participate in a number of goodwill and training activities, as well as drum up support for the organization’s mission.

SPECIAL AWARDS

Ms. Mexico won the best National Costume category. The judges were on the lookout for  a costume that was original in concept, spectacular, well designed and represented something special about the individual’s country. Mexico looked outstanding in a body hugging gold and white cowgirl costume that was heavily embellished with sequins. Her statuesque presence made the ensemble look ready to wear.

Ms. St. Lucia walked away with the Miss Photogenic title, which was independently selected by photographers on site. St. Lucia was one of the more outstanding contestants, who dominated every category and playfully hugged the camera with tantalizing glances and striking poses.

Apart from the crown, Ms. Guadeloupe also won the hearts of her fellow contestants and was selected as Miss Congeniality. The delegates chose “the friendliest contestant”, prior to the show.

When it came down to talent, there were some epic fails, spirited attempts and too much of the same thing. The delegates faced a tough crowd, who at times mocked their performance  or evoked into stitches of laughter. However, outstanding in this category was Ms. Jamaica, who, while armed with a cricket bat as her weapon of choice, delivered an entertaining monologue on confronting a cheating spouse on Valentine’s night. Much to the satisfaction of the audience, she won the best talent category for star quality, attitude, expression and originality.

Ms. Belize won the Miss Popularity contest through an online voting poll. While prior to the event, the organizers indicated that special prizes would have been announced for Best Swimwear, Evening Gown and Special Speech, the winners of these categories were not announced on pageant night.

Ms. St. Martin Christiana Denis failed to gain the judges nod or drum up audience support as a local beauty ambassador. The usually fierce and competitive contestant delivered lack luster performances, botched her final question category and therefore could not count on a home crowd advantage.

Other contestants in the pageant were Ms. Dominican Republic, Haiti, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. For the duration of their stay on St. Martin, the delegates participated in cocktail parties, television and radio interviews, photo shoots and visited sponsors on both sides of the island.

ABOUT THE PAGEANT

The Miss West Indies Pageant “is a pivot and springboard to engender confidence and empowerment to women in a world in which, despite some progress, much is still needed to be done in terms of equal rights and parity. It is meant to get people of the Americas to know each other by encouraging tourism enhancement for all participating countries. It is meant to consolidate partnerships and new markets and foster cultural exchange.”

 

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