September 23, 2017 | 10:11 pm
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Government Picking Winners [Update]

I had hoped not to have to return to this matter at this time but the letter from Mr. Chin and the heading given to the letter, have forced me to do so. If my letter gave the impression that my quarrel with the Ministry of Tourism is over the lack of financial support, I hasten to assert that this is definitely not so. I have never asked the Government to contribute financially to the promotion or staging of the Miss Jamaica World (MJW) Pageant. I have asked the Ministry of Tourism to provide a promotional contract to the winner of the Pageant through the Jamaica Tourist Board. A fee of $100K per month for the year of her reign would be paid directly to her in return for the use of her image for advertising and promotional purposes. She would participate personally, dressed in national costume, at JTB’s exhibitions here and overseas.

This would be the equivalent of a very small salary and I suggest would be money well spent by the Government. Very importantly, it gives the winners the opportunity to serve their country in a meaningful way and to experience the fulfillment that comes with it. Our very best talent, in greater numbers, would be attracted to the Pageant and the result would be an improvement on our already impressive record at Miss World. The Government has an obligation to encourage all positive aspects of our culture the totality of which, cannot be just the bacchanal of Carnival followed by the “Dance Hall-booze-teenage parties” of the summer. Both the MJW & MJU pageants should be supported and encouraged by the Government. However, we object to the blatant bias in favour of MJU being perpetuated by the Ministry of Tourism as stated in my previous letter.

On the question of declining standards raised by Mr. Chin in his letter, Spartan since 2009 has taken the following measures to ensure that MJW remains the top television show of its kind that is seen “live” on national TV and internationally on cable TV and/or on the Internet:

  • At its own expense, filmed the activities of the MJW contestants showcasing some of Jamaica’s top tourist attractions and hotels
  •  At its own expense, edited the video tapes of these activities and forwarded same, without charge, to TVJ to be included in the “live” telecast of the pageant final
  • To ensure that the pageant final was viewed “live” internationally, Spartan contributed half of TVJ’s cost to stream the 2011 pageant final on the internet

The costs for the above contributed significantly to Spartan’s underwriting (after sponsorships) the 2011 pageant for an amount in excess of $2m.

When you factor in the over 100 complimentary memberships that Spartan affords athletes annually, including some of our top Olympic representatives, I believe the fair-minded would agree that Spartan is doing its part to sell Brand Jamaica. We are therefore not prepared to apologize for seeking strong moral support and facilitation from the Government through its appropriate agencies.

Sincerely,
M. Haughton-James
Managing Director