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Toledo’s Jahrine Avila is the Next Queen of the Bay Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00

Jahrine Avila, Queen of the Bay 2013Jahrine Avila will be crowned Queen of the Bay at the Battle of St. George’s Caye Day ceremony on Tuesday, September 10th. Avila represented the district of Toledo at the 68th Queen of the Bay pageant at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts this past Friday, August 30th.

Seven of Belize’s most beautiful young ladies participated in this year’s Queen of the Bay pageant. The organizers listened to the critiques of the pageant’s supporters and made a change in the format this year. Many complained that the pageant was getting a bit too long and boring over recent years. Therefore, the Queen of the Bay Committee made special emphasis on the talent segment and promoted it as an event of its own. The Queen of the Bay talent competition was held on Saturday, August 17th. Queen of the Bay Belmopan, Mikayla Banner, won the talent competition doing a monologue in which she addressed some of the positive and negative features of Belize. She spoke of the natural wonders and warmth of the people but also expressed concern about the increase in gang violence. Banner ended by saluting our servicemen and women by marching off in a Belize Defense Force uniform. Jahrine Avila finished second in the talent competition. She did a presentation on the various ethnic groups in Belize with the central idea being that we are one people. She came out in a cultural outfit and danced to several genres of music. In her monologue she spoke of the migration of various groups to Belize and the contributions each have made. At the end she challenged everyone to go and check the pots of the Creole, Chinese, Mayas, Mestizos, East Indians and Garinagus on Sundays. She said you would find rice and beans in all of them.

Since the talent competition was held two weeks earlier, the candidates were able to focus on the formal segments for pageant night. The Bliss was not sold out but most of the seats at both levels were occupied. Of the seven candidates, four were representing Belize City. Sadly, the candidates from the city had the least supporters- almost none. Queen of the Bay Belmopan, Miss Stann Creek, Vernicia Vernon, and Queen of the Bay Toledo had the largest support group. There were three segments on Friday: introduction, evening gown and final question. During the introduction, each candidate gave a description of where or what they are representing. Toledo, Stann Creek and Belmopan immediately separated themselves from the rest of the candidates as the three most legit contenders for the throne.
After the introductions, Her Graciousness, Yadira Argueta, made her way down the aisles of the lower section of the Bliss as her loyal subjects gazed upon her heavenly beauty. She took her place on the throne to look for a successor worthy of being the symbol of love. Miss Emma explained certain characteristics Her Graciousness looks for in a successor: “The Queen of the Bay must be as strong as the Mahogany Tree but as flexible and tough as a pine tree.” The evening gown section includes the execution of the curtsy which seeks to prove exactly how strong, flexible and graceful each candidate is. The Queen of the Bay is the only pageant that features the curtsy and it is the most weighted, in terms of points, feature of the pageant. Five finalists were selected after the evening gown segment: Jahrine Avila, Queen of the Bay Toledo; Mikayla Banner; Queen of the Bay Belmopan; Vernicia Vernon, Miss Stann Creek; Winter Haule, Miss Black Orchid; and Shamira Neal, Miss Barrier Reef.

The finalists were each asked a question. It was clear that nerves got the better of Miss Barrier Reef and Miss Black Orchid once again because, though their answers were decent and admirable, there was no confidence in the delivery. The top three candidates had all the confidence needed as their support group applauded passionately every time their name was mentioned. Banner was asked what does it say about the importance of tertiary level education when the overall unemployment rate in Belize is over 16 percent and the unemployment rate for those completing tertiary level education is closer to 12? She said education is like castles in medieval days, source of strength and security. She said an educated society is a strong society. Vernon was asked about the lack of representation for women in the House of Representatives. She said there needs to be equal representation for men and women so decisions can be gender balanced. She said if the problem solving abilities of women is combined with the competitive drive of men at a greater level the country would be much better off. Avila was asked why should we continue to celebrate the 10th and 21st of September. She said we must celebrate those days not only in appreciation for freedom but in honour of our ancestors who fought hard to ensure that there will always be a land of the free for us and our children to call home.

After the responses, the delegates were serenaded by Marilyn Vanzen with her rendition of “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton. The final results were announced without the normal uproar. Miss Belmopan was recognized as Miss Talented while Queen of the Bay Toledo was named Most Eloquent and Elegant. She was then named Queen of the Bay Designate. The lovely Jahrine Avila’s Coronation is set for September 10th. If there is any reason she is unable to carry out her duties as Queen of the Bay, Vernicia Vernon, Miss Stann Creek, will assume those responsibilities. Mikayla Banner, Queen of the Bay Belmopan, finished as the second runner up while Winter Haule, Miss Black Orchid, and Shamira Neal, Miss Barrier Reef, finished fourth and fifth. Avila received many prizes; including, a scholarship to the University of Belize from the Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, and $1,000 from Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Other finalists received wonderful consolation prizes as well. 
There has been a Queen of the Bay Pageant every year for the last 67 years.