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Jul 28, 2008

Miss Belize 2008-2009 crowned hush-hush pageant

Story PictureThe newly crowned Miss Belize visited our studios this afternoon. Yes, you heard right. She was selected and crowned over the weekend at a pageant held at a Raccoon Street location and without the fanfare that traditionally accompanies the selection of a beauty queen to represent Belize at international beauty contests. Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Today we were surprised to learn there was a Miss Belize Pageant held over the weekend but we were pleased to meet twenty-one year old, Charmain Chinapen.

Charmain Chinapen, Miss Belize 2008-2009
“Oh it was perfect. It was so lovely. I wasn’t there for the challenge, for the crowd. I went in there determined and focused and I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be Miss Belize 2008-2009 and even from the moment I went to do my introduction that’s exactly what I said. I said hi, I’m Charmain Chinapen and I’m here to be your Miss Belize 2008-2009. And you know it’s just a lot of focus and energy and hard work; from getting everything ready and I had a wonderful team and it was just a great opportunity. I really seized the moment, I think I really did a good job and it shows cause I’m here today”

Charmain was born in Curacao, her family moved from Grenada to St. Lucia before coming to Belize. Chinapen maintains her roots are Belizean.

Charmain Chinapen
“I’ve been here basically since I was nine. But I consider it my home because all of my formative experiences, everything that I can remember, everything that’s made me who I am today; exactly who you see sitting in front of you, everything that has shaped me and formed me has been in Belize. So I really just love it here.”

Charmain attended St. Catherine Academy, and now attends St. John’s University in New York, but has taken a term off to attend to her duties as our Queen.

Charmain Chinapen
“I’ve been in Belize a very long time; since I was a little girl. It’s my home, it’s what I consider my home. I did the movie Choices which was HIV/AIDS based, that promoted awareness in Belize. I played the mother of an AIDS patient, which was completely remarkable because I was fifteen at the time. I went to my own movie premiere at the Princess Hotel, which was very overwhelming but very nice and it’s still so surreal when I see it on TV and it’s really nice. I guess that would be one of the main ones that I just can’t … I just always remember Belize for that. And then I did the CXCs in the year 2004 and I topped the country for that for doing eleven and nine grade ones and two grade twos. So it’s always been about striving towards your goals and living the dream that you set your mind to and this is my new one, to get this. And now as I accomplished this there’s so much I’d like to do in Belize. I was currently studying to be a neurosurgeon, I’d like to work at child organisations like Doctors without Borders in underdeveloped countries and I’d just like to work with children and work with charities for the rest of my life. That’s been my main goal.”

The organizer of the pageant Margaret Johnson filled us in about last Saturday’s pageant.

Margaret Johnson, National Director, Pageants Belize
“The pageant was Saturday, the twenty-sixth of July that just went. We had five judges and we had thirteen girls apply for the pageant; two did not qualify so we had eleven in all. For the first time in pageants in Belize or practically anywhere we have all top fivers going to represent our country internationally. So every delegate is going to go—like our first runner up was Keisha Daniels, she is out of Dangriga and Keisha is going to two pageants. She is going to Miss Carival in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and she’s going to Miss Caribbean World in 2009. Our second runner up was Gina Casey out of Camalote and she is going to Miss Culturama in the island of Nevis in 2009. We have Kera Nunez, which was our third runner up and she is going to Miss PJD2 Pageant over in the island of St. Martin. And then we have Tanisha Ramsey, who is gonna go to the Nederland Antilles who is going to the Miss Antilles pageant in 2009.”

We asked Johnson why the public wasn’t informed about the event and she said it was all because of the new format that people couldn’t understand.

Margaret Johnson
“Well we did not advertise the pageant as we normally do. We had it on the website. We had it on the website for about four to six months because the girls had been applying for about four months now. But we didn’t really advertise out there like we normally do because—there are two reasons why we didn’t advertise it. One is because the format that we were doing, we thought that maybe some people in Belize would not understand it and also we wanted to make sure that the people who … I want them to see the product of what happens here and they’re gonna have to trust us that what we did this time is correct. Sometimes you can’t see it until you see what happens to it. We had a closed screening format in which everything that is required of a pageant; we had an official accounting firm of Castillo, Sanchez and Barrow as the accountants, the tabulators. We had five judges, we had the family and friends and invited guests and the people who were supposed to be familiar with these young ladies and we had people there who, if we would have done anything wrong, they would have been known we did something wrong.”

But the public and the winner were short-changed. Charmain Chinapen, the poised and confident graduate student could probably have won her title and received her accolades before a large audience where she could also have won all hearts. Instead she became Miss Belize 2008-2009 in the closed quarters of a location that Johnson would not reveal, and in the company of only a few invited guests. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Incidentally, the Raccoon Street venue was the home of pageant director, Margaret Johnson

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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