Competent judges needed in contests

A talent competition for amateurs is a wonderful vehicle to encourage and develop good local talent in any country, especially one such as ours with such limited opportunity for professional help. If done properly, it could inspire those who would otherwise not realise their true potential.

I therefore congratulate Cable & Wireless on their efforts, if in fact their motive was to truly discover and promote the innate talent of our citizens.

If, on the other hand, as it seems, it was only an advertising gimmick, in that its results were nothing more than a popularity contest (which in itself would have generated a substantial profit from the $1.00 per vote charge) it will only serve to dissuade those talented individuals who do not have a large following or any hope of winning a popularity contest.

On the other hand, the recognised method of appointing judges is also fraught with problems. Too often, not only in Cayman but worldwide, judges are selected because of their celebrity status and have no real qualification for the task at hand.

The difficulty in a small community is how to avoid any conflict of interest and how to eliminate those judges who have the potential for succumbing to the roar of the crowd.

If judges are selected on the basis of their expertise and will rely solely on performance as a package encompassing appearance and stage presentation, no one will be dissuaded from competing, and people will have confidence in the outcome. Furthermore, professional judges will give honest advice to all the participants, winners or runners up.

If Cable & Wireless is serious in their desire to promote our local talent and also want to involve the local public, I suggest that for future contests, they could continue with their voting system but only to the extent that the winner of that popularity contest is called just that. They may also award that winner some monetary prize as well if they so choose.

The winner of the talent contest, however, should be judged by qualified judges. Only then will an objective observer consider their motives sincere.

Granted, to find qualified judges on this island may prove daunting; however, with a major sponsor like Cable & Wireless, bringing in no more than three (all that would be required) professionals from abroad should not be too much of a problem.

I do hope this view will not be taken in a negative way. I do feel strongly about our people being able to meet the standards of other jurisdictions in the West Indies and we do have a long way to go, but let us do it right.

Patrick C. Broderick Sr.