The Amerindian Heritage Pageant 2011 was held at the National Cultural Centre last evening and twenty-five-year old, Naomi Samuels from Santa Aratack Mission, Region Three took the crown, beating nine other contestants.
Samuels joined the nine other contestants in delivering to the packed theatre inclusive of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir and Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Norman Whittaker.
According to a GINA release, the pageant conveyed aptly the fusion of diverse cultures that is the Amerindian way of life.
The release said that on all levels the programme and the delegates highlighted and delivered this message of a distinctive culture.
The talent segment was an assortment of artistic pieces comprising songs; poetry, and dance depicting the Amerindian way of life.
Notable pieces came from Region One: Treasure James’ dance depicting the process of cassava bread making.
A common and positive theme in a number of the talent pieces was the message of transformation and empowerment that technology could create for the Amerindian residents.
This was part of the resounding messages from Heidi Pearson (Region Two), Devika Lopes (Region Five) and Nesha Vantra, (Region Six.) The President Bharrat Jagdeo’s, One Laptop per Family (OLPF) initiative centered at the heart of their messages.
The delegates also spotlighted their rich cultural diversity through the display of their varied traditional wear created with the use of products found in the Amerindian communities.
Joyce Paul of Region Seven, who won the prize of the Best Traditional Wear, costume depicted the life of the Region Seven jungle by air, land and water.
The outfit comprised earrings created from anaconda skin, features and shells and a bracelet made of gold from the region, buck beads and feathers.
After the display of talents and cultural wear and an evening gown segment in which each delegate was gowned in outfits that aptly suited and displayed their poise and grace, it was the platform interview segment that determined the outcome and separated Noami Samuels from the other nine contestants.
Samuels deftly handled the platform interview questions that were asked to contestants.
The contestants were each asked to answer a two-part question on their platform. Samuels’ whose platform being cervical cancer was asked, why the platform was important to her as an Amerindian woman and, if there were significant education as in her region as it relates to cervical cancer.
To the former, Samuels smoothly responded that the cervical cancer was important to her because of the prevalence of the disease among Amerindian women.
Samuels also took the opportunity to advocate to females in the audience to get themselves tested.
‘Prevention is better than cure’, Samuels’ advocated.
Samuels in addressing the latter question said that there is not sufficient education relating to cervical cancer.
She however, noted that the West Demerara and Leonora Hospitals have begun to place priority to education and testing for cervical cancer.
Samuels was crowned the 2011 Amerindian Heritage Pageant Queen. Region One Treasure James was named first runner-up; Region Five, David Lopes and Anece Hicks of Region Ten placed second and third respectively.
“This year the pageant excelled in terms of standards,” Minister Sukhai told the media at the end of the function.
The night showcased the Amerindian Culture in its finest,” Sukhai said.
“The girls performed well,” she said, and congratulated Samuels for winning the crown.
There could only be one winner, Sukhai said, but ‘all the girls were winners in their own right.’
Samuels, received for her victory a designer outfit courtesy of local designer Sonia Noel, a trophy courtesy of the Trophy Stall; a pair of gold earrings courtesy of Kings Jewelry, a bouquet, a beauty hamper valued $25,000 compliments of Great Glam Fashion, a laptop courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, and an all-expense-paid trip to Trinidad and Tobago to be a part of the Caribbean Next Top Model.
A number of other prizes were handed out during the night including Most Elegant, won by Region One Treasure James, and Most Disciplined, won by Joyce Paul, Region Eight and Miss Photogenic won by Anece Hicks, Region 10.
The pageant is part of a series of events in celebration of September Amerindian Heritage Month.
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