The wait is over. On Monday evening at the Cultural Development Foundation offices, the eight ladies doing battle for the Carnival Queen crown were finally introduced to their sponsors at the traditional ‘sashing ceremony.’
National Carnival Committee Chairperson, Michelle Monrose, was unable to attend due to illness, but her presence was still felt through her speech, read by Dr Sonia Alexander. She underscored the tumultuous season thus far.
“It is no secret that this Carnival season has been fraught with challenges as we try to work with and a embrace a new age with the CPMA (Carnival Planning Management Association). However it is expected that when things are new there will be teething pains.”
The difficult economic conditions that seem to have become a feature of this country’s landscape have made it extremely difficult to attract support from the private sector. However, such obstacles have only served to increase and strengthen the resolve of the pageant committee and the CPMA to produce one of the most exciting and impressive shows this year with less resources.”
CPMA chairman, Lyndon Arnold, highlighted their determination to have this year’s pageant be all encompassing.
“When the CPMA was established, one of the first things we thought that was necessary was to reposition the national queen pageant. And we wanted it to be truly national and be representative of the length and breadth of St Lucia. We decided to embark on the auditions which would cover the eight education districts and that was ideal for us because it provides us with an opportunity of remaining within the number of contestants while have to island covered.”
In a continued show of solidarity, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus, made some brief remarks. Theophilus made reference to an earlier faux-pas by Alexander who erroneously referred to him as the minister of health.
“I would like to suggest to her next time around you designate me minister of finance and we will get all the money we need,” he deadpanned, a not so subtle reference to the drastic cut in funding by his administration.
He was impressed by the caliber of women selected and implored them to soak in the every nuance of the journey.
“When I look around what I see before me is eight manifestations of St Lucian culture, St Lucian beauty. It is indeed for all of you an uplifting experience, an experience that you can carry with you throughout your lives. I ask you to continue to learn from these experiences, take the collaborations that you will have right now, the interactions that you have with your chaperones. Take these experiences as learning experiences.”
The minister also encouraged the girls to represent their brand with pride.
“Tonight you are not just ambassadors for yourself, but from this night forward you continue to be ambassadors for your various sponsors. So during the course of the year, until your sponsors embrace another contestant I ask you to continue to wear with pride the sashes that will be placed on your shoulders tonight.
Outgoing carnival queen Amy Stephens offered some inspiration to the contestants via a musical rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I ain’t got you.”
And now the moment of truth. Carellie’s Tannyka John is Miss Super J/IGA. Chelsea Joseph from Bexon is partnered with First Citizens Investment Services. Crystal Octave of Ciceron is now the face of Toxik Nation. Michelle Vitalis is teamed up with Digicel. Radio Caribbean International drew La Clery’s Michelle Johnny. St Lucia Tourist Board is being represented by Herma Demacque. Natalie Girard of Balata is Miss Piton and Soufriere’s Licia Jn Paul is fittingly sponsored by the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation.
The 2014 National Carnival Queen Pageant is scheduled for Saturday, July 5 at 8 pm at the National Cultural Center. Tickets are $70.