Women snub Festival Queen Competition
Nackeshia Tomlinson, Gleaner Writer
The importance of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Festival Queen Competition which aims to identify a culturally aware young woman who can contribute to nation building while enhancing personal growth seems to be lost among women of St Elizabeth.
Speaking to The Sunday Gleaner at the sashing of contestants last weekend, Father Richard Tucker, parish committee chairman, said his organisation had trouble recruiting contestants for the competition.
"It has been really difficult to get young ladies interested and fired up about the competition," explained Tucker.
According to Tucker, it is not an advertising problem either because the JCDC constantly advertises and has even made personal approaches to young women to compete. Most were very hesitant.
As St Elizabeth has never had a winner emerge from the national competition, the committee works tirelessly to attract suitable contestants, said Tucker.
As a result, the JCDC has tried to address this reluctance by hosting an annual Princess Competition, a miniature version of the Festival Queen Competition with a view to identifying girls from an early age who can transition into the adult competition, Tucker further elaborated.
Even though the event was on a weekend, public attendance was lacking, pointing to a problem of even larger scale.
The hall where the event was held was half-full and many of the supporters were related to the contestants, volunteers or sponsors.
Despite the lack of adequate support, Tucker believes the contestants were strong enough to contend for the national title.
The aspirants are a diverse group of women. They ranged from an aspiring lawyer, an aspiring broadcaster, a teacher among others. All exuded poise, confidence and intelligence, qualities that embody the overall objective of the competition.
Contestant Jullian Watson, a teacher and a poet, said she entered the competition because it is a great avenue for social development, to represent your country in a positive way and to be a role model for other young persons.
Watson said she had benefited from increased self-awareness, punctuality and discipline.
Oprah Williamson, a pre-law student at Knox Community College, agreed with Watson, adding that she entered to display her talent for drama and love of performance.
The finals of the competition will be held May 12 at the St Elizabeth Technical High School Auditorium starting at 8 p.m.