Sun | Jan 19, 2020

‘Our Christmas gift’ - Bath residents relish Toni-Ann’s crowning as early present for the season

Published:Monday | December 16, 2019 | 12:27 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Theodore Bailey, uncle of Toni-Ann Singh.
Winner of Miss World 2019, Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica, poses for photographers at the 69th annual Miss World competition at the Excel centre in London Saturday.
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Still basking in the phenomenal victory pulled off by a daughter of St Thomas in the oldest-running international beauty pageant, residents of the rural community of Bath from where Toni-Ann Singh hails are welcoming her crowning as Miss World as their 2019 Christmas gift.

Congregating at a bar in Bath, residents admitted that although they did not know the queen personally, they were thrilled by her accomplishment and saw it as a win not only for Jamaica, but for the parish and their community.

“It’s overwhelming fi know seh, yes, we did it again. Yuh si how Popcaan (dancehall deejay, singer, songwriter) run the road straight and mek everybody know bout up here? A bay (pure) proudness, man, and many more a forward out a this community, too, ‘cause a suh we do it. Popcaan a do it and now we have Miss World, so you know seh Bath, St Thomas, full a whole heap a talent,” one resident said.

Another, who gave his name as Leon, chimed in: “We have joy in a wi heart, man. Wi feel good, yuh know, praises ... . We give a clap. Dis come een like a we Christmas present – Miss World come from Bath!”

Neatly tucked away on Fountain Road in the community is the family home of Toni-Ann Singh, where the 23-year-old international beauty spent most of her earlier years.

Fulfilment of prophecy

In animated conversations, a proud Theodore Bailey, the uncle of Singh, shared the good news with friends and other family members and also received congratulatory messages as he struggled to keep up with the flood of calls coming in about his niece’s achievement.

“As a toddler growing up, she would always tell us that she is going to be Miss World and Miss Jamaica. And fi see the manifestation come now and that the world has to look up to mi niece and even a community like Bath in St Thomas yah, mi feel real good, man,” Bailey told The Gleaner.

“Words can’t even express my feelings right now, trust me. We a come from far and Toni-Ann always tell wi she is going to be the Joseph of this family. So even now it come in like is a dream come true or something ... is like it’s a fulfilment of prophecy,” Bailey said with pride.

He said that with St Thomas often seen as “the lost parish” in Jamaica, it was significant that a young woman could rise from a small rural community to be crowned Miss World. “This is a big thing for us,” he insisted.

Describing his niece as God-fearing, charitable, caring, and loving, Bailey concluded that the world received a “good one” from St Thomas.

Calling Singh a real family girl, Bailey said that every year, his niece organises a Christmas get-together for the family where gifts are exchanged.

“She always a do it and she seh whether she win or not, she a do it this year. We meet up as family and sing and eat and share. She’s a person that loves to keep the family together and that a fi har dream.

“World – when it comes on to beauty with a purpose, she is the right one – unuh mek a good choice,” he said.

Singh’s uncle also lauded her exceptional talent as he noted that the gift runs in the family.

“Toni-Ann is a great singer, you know. See how she mash up the place? Yeah, man, is a family thing, ‘cause a Prince Theo a my artiste name.

“Many people seh mi shuda buss or mek it with the talent weh mi have, and see it here now ... . Toni-Ann do it fi all a we and she do it big!” Bailey exclaimed of his history-making niece, who is now listed as the fourth Jamaican to be crowned Miss World behind Carole Crawford in 1963, Cindy Breakspeare in 1976, and Lisa Hanna in 1993.

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