Aug 03, 2010 News
Kudos are in order for the committee members responsible for the splendid Wakenaam Nite staged last Saturday at the Community Centre, and if all goes well, the venture is well on its way to becoming one of the main tourist attractions to the island.
The main item on a beautiful Saturday evening was the crowning of a new queen in the person of 15-year-old Cheka Paloma Kungbeharry, an Essequibo Islands Secondary School student, who aspires to join the medical profession on completion of her studies. The victor also copped special prizes for best dress and best smile.
All told, the teen beauty received prizes amounting to almost $600,000 including a trip to Kaieteur Falls, jewellery, hampers and cash, as well as a $125,000 scholarship from the soon-to-be registered Wakenaam Scholarship Foundation. This money will be paid to any institution she desires to pursue her educational development.
The lovely teen, who also won the best gown title, was adjudged the winner from a line-up of eight beauties who represented wards named after the Dutch such as Maria Johanna, Sans Souci, Belle Plain, Noigedacht and Zeelandia.
Her close rival was University of Guyana student Tonnaisia Robertson of Maria Johanna who was clearly a crowd favourite. She made quite a first impression, but her momentum waned as the competition progressed. Many among the audience opined that Robertson had the edge and made no bones about it, but the judges saw it differently. Despite her disappointment, the 19-year-old was admirably composed when the final results were announced.
Robertson received a similar number of prizes to the winner but her educational trust fund award is valued at $75,000. Additionally she was dubbed the most photogenic.
Nineteen-year-old Natasha Nateram, of Sans Souci, was the second runner-up, edging out 18-year-old Showana Spencer of Noitgedacht. The two beauties were rewarded with several hampers and other prizes of jewellery, as well as educational packages valued at $50,000 and $40,000 respectively.
Eight beauties in all appeared on stage in introduction, talent, casual and evening wear segments. The top four were required to answer an additional question. The other delegates were Annecia Hill, Vidya Persaud, Nalini Sukar and Aleisha Shereef.
Aside from being awarded a total of six prizes for participation such as hampers and other gifts they each got an educational scholarship offer of $25,000.
As part of the night’s activities, the mini-expo included showcases of agricultural produce and pottery as well as a variety of culinary delights, all representing tangible support from the private and public sectors. In Georgetown and other parts, the additional entertainment may have been considered a bit too stretched out, but not for the energetic residents of Wakenaam, they just could not get enough.
A sprinkling of modern dance and fashion displays of Afro-centric garb along with a plethora of chutney vibes provided the night its full quota of entertainment spices. The Shakti Strings orchestra took the lead.
But amongst the more entertaining pieces was a spontaneous “Michael Jackson dance-off” that had the crowd screaming in wild abandon for more.
The lot of five patrons from the crowd included a chubby man with antics comparable to a bout of spasms, an individual with a missing tooth who loved to smile and one who dressed the part with lipstick and make up. He topped it off with ankle-high drainpipe black pants and a snap-brim hat.
However, the eventual star was a ten-year-old who popped, locked and moonwalked his way to $14,000 cash and the memories of being kissed by two accomplished beauties – Olive Gopaul and Tonnecia Harding.
Birthed out of a united community effort to build a pavilion, while creating an awareness of what Wakenaam has to offer in an expo and fashion format, the event started three years ago. Following this year’s activities, it may best be described as an entertaining, encouraging and fun-filled occasion.
There was attendance of more than 6,000 enthusiastic patrons who got their money’s worth and more.
Much praise was extended to Miranda Thakurdeen amongst the many sponsors and officials who made the event a success. The show was emceed by entertainer and journalist Mondale Smith as well as news anchor Chad Ramsaroop.
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