Recently it came to light that Miss Cayman's costume was used last year in a children's “kiddies” carnival in Canada. Whilst the initially response may be one of shock and awe as to why we would pay a professional designer to produce a “Cayman parrot” costume that was not unique this story is a much broader one – apparent lack of financial commitment to the Miss Cayman pageant.
The Cayman parrots are supposed to be endemic and found nowhere else in the world. One would naturally assume that costume would likewise be one of a kind.
For many years now the Miss Cayman pageant has been woefully underfunded. Past title holders have complained that they did not have the financial support and commitment giving them access to trainers etc. In fact, our sources tell us that Miss Cayman has not been given a car for several years now. The government allegedly rented the last title holder a vehicle for the entire year from a local rental company.
Further we understand that only recently has this current Miss Cayman received her monetary allotment to obtain her promised official wardrobe. Her reign is almost over ..
Whilst we understand that government must rely on private sector partnerships to make this ongoing venture a success; IF the Cayman Islands government is not committed to sponsoring this pageant fully then a decision should be made to relinquish it entirely as they have with the Miss World franchise.
It really becomes an issue of managing something versus managing it well. We can all relate to wanting something that we simply cannot afford. In this case there's a lot at stake. Government and the people of these islands have an interest in promoting Miss Cayman because of the perceived good will that comes with it.
We appreciate that pageants are not cheap. There are numerous events that must be attended, hair and make-up, ward-robing, training, diet and nutrition etc. Some countries even commit to have their contestants cosmetically altered before placing them on the international stage. It is truly a full time job and requires commitment on all sides: the Miss Cayman Committee, private sponsorship and the government with funding and the winner. However, the ultimate commitments comes from the government.
Costume is almost identical to one used in a kiddie carnival 2 years ago by the same designer
We have already seen historically government struggle with this pageant – it was not held for several years. There was an assumption that when it was restarted there would be a full commitment to fund it properly but it has become clear that is not the case.
We also understand that the Miss Universe franchise waived their fee to assist us in participating. Perhaps the government now needs to realize its limitations and pass the baton to more capable persons or organizations.
It rather pathetic when the committee makes claims that this costume was designed for Miss Cayman by a world class costume designer – only to then find out it's an exact adult size replica of the a kid's costume and wasn't originally at all. One could only conclude that the $600 costume budget did not leave much room for purchasing creativity and originality.
Last night we saw Miss Jamaica placed in the top 3 – that sort of exposure it's hard to place a price tag on. We are sure all of Jamaica was abuzz and she can expect a hero's welcome home. Ironically when she was selected in the top 20 she made homage to another Jamaican legend – Usain Bolt – by using his world famous winner's stance that has become unique to him.
The irony of it is we often hear government indicating that the Caymanian people must be prepared to compete on the world stage. Miss Cayman did so but we cannot help but wonder if the powers that be do not appreciate for her to be fully competitive she must have the necessary funding in place.
Miss Cayman has done a remarkable job despite the financial restrictions and we wish to applaud her successes thus far. Imagine how much farther she could have gone will full monetary support behind her.