Kemesha Kelly is festival queen

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer writer

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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KEMESHA Kelly, Miss St Ann, was crowned this year’s Miss Jamaica Festival Queen at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Independence Park, St Andrew on Sunday night.

In securing the title, the newly crowned cultural ambassador was following the tradition of two previous winners from the ‘Garden Parish’. Jacinth Hall Tracey and Kamesha Turner, who wore the sash in 1992 and 2009 respectively.

In addition to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) trophy, Kelly was presented with a cheque for $300,000 for having won the Best Community Involvement and Most Culturally Aware. She was also given the keys to a 2007 Nissan March valued at $1.4m courtesy of Mac D’s Auto Sales.

First runner-up, Miss Kingston and St Andrew’s Rasheen Roper walked away with $150,000 while second runner-up Miss St Mary’s Sasheena Douglas took the prize of Best Performer. Miss Clarendon, Shashine DaCosta was Most Congenial and Best Gown, while Miss Manchester Victoria Cole was Best Poise.

"It was a pleasure during the pre-judging because that’s where you get a chance to meet the girls up close. You get an opportunity to see their personalities and get into their headspaces. So, we really could see who really understands, who is aware, who knows about the history and culture, and who would really make a good queen," David Ellis, chief judge of the 2012 Festival Queen Competition told the
Jamaica Observer.

When asked what was the winner’s strong points, he said: "It’s her commitment to community work. She did not do this [community work] because she was entering the Festival Queen [Competition]. If you look at her record from high school days to university, you see someone who is from humble beginnings and, as a result, understands that you need to go out there and help others."

"So, she is working from the heart. JCDC’s Festival Queen Competition was just a platform she could use to even further propel her work in the community. And she is a very, very bright girl," Ellis added.

An exciting affair, the packed Centre was kept grooving with live entertainment provided by Itonation Band and a highenergy performance by Festival Song winner Abbygayle Dallas, who did her winning entry Real Born Jamaican. Chino took awhile to connect with the crowd that was apparently waiting on Never Ever Change. The reaction to it suggested it was the redeeming number for Chino who also performed Miss Universe.

The night, however, belonged to four-time Festival Song winner Roy Rayon who turned up the thrills. This he did with not only some of his previous winning entries, but with a medley of other songs such as Eric Donaldson’s Cherry Oh Baby, Toots and the Maytals’ Sweet and Dandy and Freddie McKay’s Picture Hanging on the Wall.

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