Barbadians must take a more proactive approach to supporting those who represent the country in international events, whether they are musicians, athletes or beauty pageant contestants.
Director of Media Relations and PR at Miss Universe Barbados Gaynelle Marshall made this comment at a post-pageant press conference with this year’s Miss Barbados Universe Shanel Ifill.
Marshall said Barbadians tend to complain about how things are done, rather than offer to help when they have the relevant expertise.
“I realize that we have a culture where we sit back and wait to be asked to come forward. Nobody likes to volunteer and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea. Can I meet with you, can we discuss it? How can I help?’ We appear not to be those people; instead, we complain about the finished product,” she said.
“If you aren’t going to step forward and ask, ‘how can I help my country or a cause I am passionate about?’, I would not know what talents you have. So, just support, even if it is just offering an encouraging message. If you have particular skills you feel can be of use, say something, because if we can use them, we will.”
Citing one example, Marshall said the designer of the dresses for contestants in the local pageant came on board after asking one of the members of her team how she could get involved.
In 2004, the then holder of the Miss Barbados Universe franchise, the late Andy Niles, said that he wanted to host the international Miss Universe pageant in Barbados. Marshall said it would be an extremely difficult undertaking, but with national buy-in all around, Niles’ dream could eventually become a reality.
“There can be some far-reaching benefits, but real infrastructural challenges. There are 90 delegates, there are 90 parties, and Latin American countries sometimes have entourages comprising 400 or 500 people. That would be great for hotel occupancy, but in terms of transport, organization, recreation, just to meet that, it would be akin to hosting a ‘Beauty Olympics’ in Barbados. It would be a wonderful dream; not in 2020 as we are already gathering. We can’t dream as big as that yet. Would I like to see it in ten years? Yes, but first we must have all our checks and balances in place,” she said.
Marshall added that while there is an incredible amount of talent in Barbados, getting the necessary infrastructure and money to pull off such an event would be a mammoth task.
“And ‘task’ is putting it mildly. But I would like us to get to a stage where our people will want it badly enough for it to happen,” she said. (DH)