Chairperson resigns from committee
The future of the Miss Cayman pageant, which has not been held since 2011, appears in doubt.
Lynn Bodden has resigned as chairperson of the Miss Cayman Islands Committee, and the last holder of the crown, Lindsay Japal, is no longer serving as Miss Cayman.
“We do have a committee, but I have resigned as the chairperson,” said Ms. Bodden. “I have made a proposal to government, but I do not have confirmation.”
The Miss Cayman competition falls under the remit of the Ministry of Tourism. In previous years, the government has subsidized the pageant, which was first held in the 1970s, allocating about $100,000 a year. The winner usually receives a prize pack that includes a $70,000 educational scholarship and a new car, along with other prizes.
This year, the government has budgeted $50,000 for the pageant and has allocated $20,000 for the scholarship prize, though this has yet to be approved.
According to a spokesperson in the Ministry of Tourism, funds have been budgeted but need to be voted on by legislators.
Still holding her post as deputy chairperson and in no position to take over the leadership role because of other commitments, Heather Bodden said she doubts there will be time to host a pageant this year.
“It is a lot of work to host the pageant,” she said. “People do not have that amount of time anymore. There are people out there who can get involved, but there are also a lot of other organizations in which people have made other commitments.”
The Miss Cayman pageant usually takes place in September at the Lions Centre. The winner goes on to represent the Cayman Islands in international beauty pageants, including Miss World and Miss Universe.
Prior to the local pageant, contestants undergo an intense two months of preparation, including training and fitness programs, photo sessions, tours, makeup, etiquette and modeling classes.
Recalling her own pageant days, Lovenia Ebanks believes the beauty pageants bring good publicity for the Cayman Islands.
In earlier years, the contest was run by a charity group that raised funds to host the contest, Ms. Ebanks said.
She questioned whether the prize for becoming Miss Cayman should include a scholarship, as she says many entrants already have scholarships.
Despite a Cayman beauty queen never landing a Miss Universe or Miss World title, tourism ministers throughout the years have said the pageant allows for the winner be a tourism ambassador for the Cayman Islands and a role model to women and girls.