The Chairman of the organizing committee, Antonio “Director” Maynard, told MiyVue.com on Friday that unless they are able to attract the right amount of sponsorship, the tough decision would have to be taken to cancel the event, or outsource the show. Maynard said another possibility is to take the show to another island.
“We need support for this good thing”, said Maynard, referring to the pageant which has been a main attraction for the annual carnival in St. Kitts since 1979. He said to successfully host a pageant of this type, approximately EC$60,000 is needed in cash, plus other in-kind services that are essential to pull off the event. “If we don’t get that, things will change in 2014,” he added. The pageant official stated that a number of countries have expressed interest in having the event hosted in their territory and this is an option that cannot be ruled out, if it becomes necessary. “The time has come for changes…drastic changes, and that is not negotiable based on past experiences.”
Maynard also admitted that last year’s pageant was perhaps the most challenging of recent years, in many ways. Central to their financial difficulties explained Maynard was the last minute reduction in sponsorship from their title sponsor, Digicel, which in previous years provided a significant amount of the cash injection needed to make the show viable.
He said it was approximately one month before the competition was scheduled to be hosted, that his committee was informed by Digicel that they were cutting their sponsorship by two thirds. This last minute action created much difficulty and did not provide organizers with enough time and opportunity to fill the big gap for financial support.
“The 2013 Pageant was the most challenging one that we have had to face in our many years of organizing this event. Some weeks before the event took place, the Committee for the first time in its history had to seriously consider the continued staging of the event and possible cancellation of the 34th edition of the annual show. The environment in 2013 in so many ways was simply not conducive to staging an event of this magnitude,” outlined the show’s producer.
In a release issued by the committee, also on Friday, the group also is quoted as saying that “The main contributor to the adverse environment or conditions was the withdrawal of Digicel as our main and titled sponsor. Digicel notified the Committee just shy of 4 weeks before the event that they were reducing their usual sponsorship by two thirds. This late development forced the show’s committee to seriously consider the staging of the 2013 event. After much contemplation the committee opted to pursue the staging of the event and thus had to engage creative finance procurement in addition to aggressive cost cutting all the while maintaining the usually high standard of the show which we all have become accustomed to.”
They said, “Another huge challenge was the recent unpalatable phenomenon, in which humongous free events were held before and during our show, including, and especially Party Central, Inception fete, and others. It is impossible to hold a successful event such as our queen show, with an admission fee of $50.00Ec, when at the same time some other high profile events are being staged for free, with several big bands and popular artistes, just around the corner from the venue . It must be noted and made abundantly clear that the Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen Pageant Committee has no problem with the other events or their organizers, but feels that they must be managed properly within the parameters of the Carnival season and carnival programme accordingly.”
They added, “In the past, this was not the case. Usually, whenever a major carnival show is being staged and especially if it is a part of the regular carnival schedule, no other event is held during that same time. This new situation has affected our gate receipts greatly, and will serve to render our event a financial loss. However, and in spite of all these challenges, the related activities of the pageant were exceptional…”
“However, we are putting the public on notice that in light of the changing circumstances, the Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen pageant will not be staged under the same arrangements as it did last year and indeed has been over the previous years, “ said the statement from the committee.
The show’s organizing committee will undergo some changes in the near future which will be announced. These changes will ensure the show’s continued relevance, vibrancy and sustainability. It will also ensure that the show remains the most prestigious show of its kind in the Caribbean and arguably in the world.