The four young women competing for the Miss Montserrat 2021 Pageant on Saturday evening signed an agreement to commit to the process of preparation but also to be a young ambassador for the island.
Premier Joseph Farrell, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier Daphne Cassell, chaperones, and family attended the hour-long ceremony at the Montserrat Cultural Centre conference room.
Miss Montserrat 2021/22 Pageant delegates are 19-year-old Nia St. Claire, 19-year-old Jwane Lewis, 25-year-old Kaleah Halloran-Crichlow and 19-year-old Crystal Archer. With the assistance of current crown holder Miss Montserrat 2019 Janet Turner, they each selected a number to choose their order of appearance in the competition.
Jwane Lewis is now delegate #1, Nia St. Claire will follow as delegate #2, Crystal Archer is #3, and Kaleah Halloran-Crichlow is delegate #4.
Fenyx Creations is contracted to deliver the competition for the Montserrat Arts Council. Creative Director Jo-Annah Richards said at the brief ceremony that her organisation was honoured to be executing this year’s pageant.
“The Miss Montserrat Pageant is a cornerstone of our annual Carnival and is rooted in a distinguished history. Pageantry is a tool to develop and empower young women into not only ambassadors but the best version of themselves. The aim for this year and the years to come is enhancement and excellence,” Richards told the small gathering at the Cultural Centre. “The focus is standardisation, through holistic training, development, and guidance. By enriching skills such as public speaking, deportment and etiquette, all contestants should benefit personally, and pageant related.”
Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott, Director of the Montserrat Arts Council said the Miss Montserrat Sashing and Contract Signing event was a unique collaboration between MAC, Fenyx Creations and the Delegates.
“The signing of this agreement symbolizes the commitment by all to forge ahead and cultivate young ambassadors for our beautiful island. This is a step in the right direction,” Silcott added.
He thanked the Office of the Premier which provides funding for the annual festival, including the pageant. The MAC is currently seeking corporate sponsors for the four delegates in the competition.
Silcott stated that Montserrat’s culture needs a succession plan if it is to foster the growth of pageantry here. “We must encourage, train, develop and build the confidence of our young ladies from Princess to teenage to Queens shows. I commend the Fenyx Creations for grasping and continuing this initiative. This can only enhance and promote the development of pageantry in Montserrat.”
The MAC director added that it would take everyone working together to one day see “Montserrat’s first Miss Universe and Miss World.”
Richards said the approach her organisation is taking, will provide the young women an experience which fosters ” self-expression, self-development and ultimately garnering self-awareness and growth for the young women. We are working with each girl to strengthen their areas that require improvement and improve their strengths. Thus, it will result in grooming them into well rounded young women.”
The contract signing is an agreement that cements the contestants’ commitment to their pageant journey, as well as the chaperones, the Montserrat Arts Council and Fenyx Creations.
The agreement asks for the girls to exude certain qualities, such as respect and dedication, as well as a pledge to commit to their personal development and growth. It also signals the Montserrat Arts Council and Fenyx Creations’ commitment to positively impacting each delegate.
The winner of the pageant commits to represent Montserrat as part of official delegations to welcome dignitaries, work with the tourism division on promotions, be a youth advocate, and represent the island in regional pageant competitions.
All of the delegates also agree to continue to promote their platform which this year is various aspects of mental health for a period of six months after the competition, even if they do not win.
Failure of the Miss Montserrat winner not meeting the contractual agreements can result in the loss of the crown.
The Crowning of a Queen – Miss Montserrat pageant is slated for December 28th at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.