Saddened by the controversy surrounding former Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization (MGBBPO) queen Evena Gibson, who made a statement on social media that Grand Bahamians took offence to,regarding her beauty and cultural heritage, April Crowther-Gow, Official Host, Advisor and Public Relations Director of MGBBPO, held a press briefing on Thursday, September 13 to update the public on the way forward.
Initially, Raquel Munnings was the winner of the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant, however, she relinquished it due to the fact that she decided to pursue other endeavors and as such Gibson became the crown and titleholder.
Unfortunately, Crowther-Gow noted that the incident, which occurred with Miss Gibson resulted in her giving up the same and thus the decision was made not to have a queen this year.
Joined by MGBBPO Committee members Grace Farquharson, Karon Pinder-Johnson and James Bridgewater at the YMCA, Crowther-Gow stated, “On behalf of the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization President, Glenn Davis and our committee members, we would like to thank both the Grand Bahama community and The Bahamas at large for your continued support and belief in this youth development program.
“As we have said before in our earlier press statement, moving forward we are going to look at this unfortunate situation and see how we can improve all of our systematic measures.
“Once again, we reiterate that all of our candidates receive a contract when they join the organization and are vetted extensively however, we want to ensure that each candidate understands completely the contract as well as their obligation to our community and our country.
“Certainly, we want to thank all of our former queens, as we understand that it is not easy to give a year of one’s life to celebrate both your heritage and country, however it is imperative that we encourage as many young women as possible to prepare themselves because we believe 2019 is going to be quite symbolic for the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization.
“Furthermore, we extend our gratitude to the media as well as those on social media for their support, as we realize that they respect the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization and what it means to youth development and that of our young women, therefore we will continue fight for their survival, education and the ability to see the world as a platform to enhance beauty with a purpose.”
Acknowledging the fact that the situation has become an ugly one, Crowther-Gow noted that over the past 60 years since the establishment of the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization there has always been young ladies of diverse, multi-cultural heritage,therefore she claims Miss Gibson is not unique, however, it is unfortunate that the individual statement she made placed her under a damaging spotlight.
While Crowther-Gow is cognizant of the fact that the statement by Miss Gibson is not going to change, she declared in her view a Bahamian is a Bahamian regardless of one’s heritage, hence if anyone truly loves their country, they are going to fight their hardest to ensure that where their foot treads someone knows the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“It is imperative that my fellow Bahamians take into consideration the fact that Miss Gibson is just 17 years old and, 10 years from now she may not be significant /standout in their minds,however I urge them not to destroy or malign her.
“She is a child and we as a people should not seek to destroy any child born in The Bahamas due to any bias or prejudice we personally have, particularly in the case when they (ignorantly) make ridiculous and/or immature statements.
“Instead we need to build up our children, because that is what The Bahamas is about and we are building up this nation for future generations to come, so please desist and decease from lashing out at her.
“Miss Gibson has exercised a level of true maturity after learning from this situation and has relinquished her crown so that we all can move forward not just the Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization but her community and her country.
“There is nothing else we can ask of this 17-year-old young lady nor of a five-year-old or 60-year-old; all I ask is that as a community and nation that we all keep her in our prayers and exercise kindness to one another,” Crowther-Gow passionately pleaded.
With every Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant Organization candidates signing a contract that clearly outline, “In the event a contestant wins the Miss Grand Bahama crown and is not able to uphold the protocols, rules and regulations of this organization then, you are asked to relinquish the crown and title,” Crowther-Gow noted, as committee members never desire to strip a queen of her crown.