Rose Bank resident, Shaniqua Laborde, defeated 15 other delegates to win the Miss Unity Youths 2015 crown in front of a large crowd at Victoria Park Saturday night.
Laborde won the Sportswear, Interview, and Evening Wear segments of the show to take the crown back to North Leeward, denying the representatives of each of the other constituencies and the Miss ULP headquarters’ delegate.
She also caught the photographers’ eyes and bagged the Miss Photogenic title.
“I feel really happy,” Laborde, a first year student of communications studies, physical education, and sociology at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College told reporters shortly after being crowned by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also political leader of the ULP.
Results at a Glance:
- Miss Unity Youths: Miss North Leeward, Shaniqua Laborde
- 1st Runner-up: Miss ULP Headquarters, Davana Providence
- 2nd Runner-up: Ms South Windward, Zoneh Seymour
- 3rd Runner-up: Ms South Central Windward, Bernetta Harry
- 4th Runner-up: Ms North Windward, Errian Osment
- Best Political Speech: Ms South Central Windward, Bernetta Harry
- Best Sports Wear: Miss North Leeward, Shaniqua Laborde
- Best interview: Miss North Leeward, Shaniqua Laborde
- Best Evening Wear: Miss North Leeward, Shaniqua Laborde
- Best Talent: Ms South Windward, Zoneh Seymour
- Most Photogenic: Miss North Leeward, Shaniqua Laborde
The queen said the pageant was her first, and she “just wanted to have the experience”.
She said she does not plan to take part in any other pageant.
“It’s a lot of stress. For real,” she told reporters in the post-show interview.
Among the persons assisting Laborde in her preparation for the show, was Terranza Franklyn – who placed First Runner-up in the Miss SVG 2012 pageant, Calique Williams, and Laborde’s mother, Urel Laborde.
Celebrated Vincentian designer, Kimon Baptiste, designed Laborde’s dress, “Aphrodite”
Laborde told reporters that she was surprised that she won the crown, and saw Miss North Windward, Errian Osment, as her biggest challenge going into the show.
“She has a lot of confidence and charisma,” Laborde said of Osment, who placed 4th Runner-up.
Laborde told reporters she plans to go to university after graduating SVGCC or flight school “to come an air hostess so I can travel, because I like to travel”.
She said she is a supporter of the ULP “because I am the queen,” but added, when pressed, that that is not the only reason, but didn’t elaborate.
In her winning political speech, Harry lauded her parliamentary representative, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar.
“All hail Caesar! All Hail Caesar,” she said.
She told patrons that, time after time, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has put forward Leader of the Opposition, Eustace as their candidate for prime minister but has been rejected repeatedly.
Eustace was head of the NDP when it lost the 2001, 2005, and 2010 general elections, and will lead the party in the next poll, expected by year-end, ahead of the March 2016 constitutional deadline.
“Comrades, let us be very clear, the people in their wisdom seem to have realised something we have come to know: Arnhim Eustace is greatest threat to the social and the economic advancement of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the South Central Windward delegate said.
“With Arnhim Eustace, this country would be like Barbados — hundreds of workers sent home to Diamonds, Mt Grennan, San Souci and all over our constituency. Their jobs gone. But thank God for Labour. Thank God for Caesar,” she said in the mostly scripted speech.
Harry said that no other party loves the people like Labour does and no one likes the people of her constituency like Caesar.
Miss South Windward, Zoneh Seymour’s winning talent was a dramatization that began with a video of her outside the terminal building of the EC$729 million international airport under construction at Argyle.
Role-playing a grandmother who has returned to St. Vincent, Seymour asked when Argyle got an airport, adding that when she left SVG many years ago, the only thing Argyle was good for was planting peanuts.
She seemed to have had an epiphany during the dramatization, exclaiming about having had a direct flight to SVG.
The presentation was a combination of Seymour on stage and video projected on the large screens at the park.
In the video, she asked rhetorically how she was going to move from the airport and a “taxi” came being driven up along an unpaved section of the runway.
As Seymour and her “taxi driver” were on stage in their cardboard “taxi” the video showed the perspective of a vehicle driving toward North Windward.
She exclaimed about a bridge having been built over the Rabacca Dry River — a ULP project then later, she told the taxi driver to stop outside a “hotel”, which she later realised was a police station.
During her presentation, Seymour also attempted to highlight the ULP’s policies and achievements on housing and how the well-being of Vincentians might have improved during the party’s tenure in government.
“Labour me say!”
In the interview segment of the show, contestants were asked two questions, one of which came from their biography.
Laborde was asked: “You mentioned in your bio that you are an only child. How has being the only child of your parents helped to mould you into the person you are today?”
She responded: “Growing up as an only child, I received an abundance of love and attention from my parents. So, growing up with this love, I show everyone around me love and attention as I got from my parents.”
Her second question was: “If you had a chance to change something in your past. What would it be.”
She responded: “I would change nothing from my past because everything that has happened in my past, whether it be good or bad, has made me into the well-rounded individual that I am today.”
Laborde succeeds Miss Unity Youth 2012, Miss South Central Windward,
Saturday’s show included guest performances from local artistes Skarpyon, Bomani, and Madd Skull. The featured act was Jamaican artiste Christopher Martin.