Adrian Frater, News Editor
Jamaica is poised to lose its first home-grown international pageant, at least for a year, as according to Montego Bay businessman Lachu Ramchandani, the franchise holder/founder of the annual Miss Global International Contest, the 2013 staging of this event will be in Africa.
"I have been getting a lot of offers from various countries, but we have decided to accept Nigeria's offer," said Ramchandani, who founded the pageant in 2006.
"What I particularly like about the Nigeria offer is that the proceeds will be going to a children's charity."
Among the countries which have been bidding to stage the popular Miss Global Contest are Botswana, Portugal, Zimbabwe, The Bahamas and the United States of America.
"While Nigeria would like to become the permanent home of this pageant, we are seriously looking at offers from other countries," said Ramchandani, who has had a long and distinguished history of involvement in local pageants.
"The United States would like to stage 2014, and that is something we are looking at."
Interestingly, when the contest was first staged, it was under the name the Miss Commonwealth Pageant. However, at the request of non-Commonwealth countries like the United States, which wanted to participate but could not do so under the Commonwealth banner, the name was changed.
bring the world to jamaica
According to Ramchandani, who has hand a hand in pageants such as the Miss St James, Miss Montego Bay, Miss Middlesex and the prestigious Miss Jamaica World, the idea of Miss Global was to "have the world coming to Jamaica instead of always having our girls going off to other countries".
"In addition to having our girls participating in an international pageant on home soil, I also saw it as a way of bringing tourism, as these events generally attract a lot of international media attention," said Ramchandani, who brought commercial life to the once exclusive Ironshore area of Montego Bay, with the construction of the Blue Diamond Shopping Centre 21 years ago.
However, while the pageant has been relatively successful, attracting participant from as many as 39 countries last year, Ramchandani said he was never able to get the kind of support he would have liked from entities such as the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
"The JTB has only been giving token support, despite the international attention the event has been attracting," said Ramchandani, who now sees the idea of taking the event out of Jamaica as a way of adding a new challenge to his creative drive.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that the Miss Global will be staged outside of Jamaica.
In 2008, Ramchandani leased the franchise to a promoter, who took the event to London. However, he was not satisfied with the outcome and, as a consequence, he reclaimed the event.
"For the event in Nigeria, I will be doing the recruiting of the girls and will be producing the show with my technical team from Jamaica, headed by Weston Haughton," said Ramchandani.
"We don't want the event to fall below a certain standard."