History was made when Jamaica’s first Miss Deaf Jamaica queen was crowned on December 18, 2010 at Y.M.C.A. Out of a field of 8 vibrant and talented contestants who represented Kingston, St. Catherine, May Pen and St. Ann; Miss Spanish Town, Cassandra Whyte walked away with the coveted title, as well as the “Best Personality” Sectional Award. 1st Runner-Up was Miss Portmore, Kadrieka Thomas while 2nd Runner-Up was Miss South Kingston, Toneika Kidd. Miss St. Andrew, Kimberly Brown won the “Best Smile” award while Miss West Kingston, Yakera James copped the award for “Best Walk”. Performances for the evening were done by Danny Williams School for the Deaf Dance Troupe as well as Lister Mair Gilby School for the Dance Troupe.
Cassandra Whyte will represent Jamaica for the first time at the annual Miss Deaf World and Miss Deaf International event in Europe and America in July 2011 where the winners of each event will become Ambassadors for the Deaf Community worldwide. Among her prizes, newly crowned Cassandra Whyte was presented with a One-year gym membership (valued at $60,000) to the Spartan Health Club by the General Manager, Dr. Terri-Karelle Reid along with prizes from other main sponsors like Purity Bread, Island Grill and Red Stripe.
The event was organized by Mr. Rian Gayle, Chairman of Miss Deaf Jamaica (MDJ), a new entity formed earlier this year, whose purpose among other things is to help prevent and/or reduce incidents of violence, abuse, oppressions, exploitations, and unemployment at the community level and within the wider Jamaican society through promotion of the pageant and other activities. Mr. Gayle who is deaf himself, pointed out that this organization is more than just a beauty pageant. “I wanted this to be something different. Over the years I have been disheartened by the situations involving deaf women where they have been abused, neglected and not much attention given to them where development is concerned. Knowing that the ladies love beauty pageants, I used this medium to attract them while placing emphasis on self-respect, self-esteem, self-control and self-prosperities that would enable them to be advocates and spokeswomen for the deaf community in the future.”
The winner was crowned by Kerry Moxam, 1st Runner-Up in the 2010 Miss Jamaica World Pageant and 8th placed Finalist in the 2010 Miss Intercontinental Contest recently held in the Dominican Republic.