PRESS RELEASE – TENSIONS ran high and silence befell the theatre Saturday evening in Havana, Cuba as the judges deliberated to announce their choice for Caribbean Queen at the 2018 ELAM (Latin-American School of Medicine) Caribbean Pageant.
It was an especially intense moment for the five (5) contestants who had represented their various countries in all their glory throughout the evening. Among these were: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Cheers and celebrations later erupted inside the theater as Miss Zenaida Jn Baptiste, who represented our beautiful St. Lucia, was crowned Miss Caribbean 2018, successor to Dominica in 2017. Many St. Lucian students took to the aisles and the stage in screams and chants to express their excitement and display their flags.
“It was such an amazing triumph” expressed one St. Lucian student, “The passion and energy of every moment and being able to share it with your St. Lucian family in Cuba, was just amazing. All the other contestants came tonight and brought their stronger foot forward and it ended up producing a very memorable event.”
Many Caribbean students who study in different provinces of Cuba flocked up to the theater in Havana – by plane, bus or truck – in order to be a part of this annual event organized this year by a team of highly creative individuals, among who was St. Lucian Anya Williams, Vice President of the Caribbean Delegation. The integration of performances by various groups and individuals made for an enjoyable night as the event was well attended and graced with the presence of many ambassadors and high-ranking representatives of various countries, including St. Lucia.
The event was divided into five (5) major categories, each worth a certain number of points – Swimwear, Costume, Talent, Evening wear and of course, Question and Answer. Zenaida excelled in all her categories with flying colors, especially distinguishing herself in the costume segment where she wowed the judges and the audience with a spectacle never before seen on an ELAM’s Miss Caribbean stage. While others depicted their country’s style in a traditional manner of floor presentation, she decided to add a new dimension – she graced skillfully across the stage in 1.5-meter-tall stilts that accentuated the originality of her costume which represented various aspects of St. Lucian life. For her talent, Zenaida passionately expressed her emotion to her audience through a stellar dance performance which amazed the judges and received the award of best overall talent. Zenaida also received accolades for Miss Photogenic and Best Swimwear.
ZenaidaJnBaptiste is currently a first year medical student enrolled at the Latinamerican School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana who dedicated time and effort into preparation for a pageant with the full intention of making her family and country proud. When asked what winning the pageant meant to her, an emotional Zenaida responded, “It makes me feel like a cultural ambassador to St. Lucia. To be able to amalgamate my experiences and display them as an expression of our culture, our ‘vybe’ and our uniqueness up on stage and be crowned victorious means the world to me. I hope to continue to be an example of excellence and an inspiration to more young women to step out of their comfort zone.”
Zenaida continued to express that it is of the utmost importance that the people of St. Lucia are made aware that the Cuban scholarship awardees are not just sitting around here in Cuba. “We’re trying our best, through cultural integration, to experience a taste of the many cultures represented here as well as giving off a hefty piece of what makes us St. Lucian.” remarked Zenaida.
Written by Rashad Prospere,
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.