Tanaina Samaroo crowned Sari queen

-after marathon pageant marred by unruly contestant, audience

Tanaina Samaroo was yesterday morning crowned Miss Guyana Sari Queen at the National Cultural Centre (NCC), after a six-hour long programme that was marred by a tantrum by another contestant who felt she was robbed and open hostility from the exhausted audience.

Samaroo, although not a crowd pleaser from the inception, was also awarded the special prizes for best sari and best talent when the pageant concluded just a few minutes before 2 am.

Among the finalists were first runner-up, 22-year-old Mohini Roopchand, second runner-up 17-year-old Ivonna Dasrat, third runner-up 18-year-old Kamini Ramlochan and fourth runner-up Ashmini Devi Singh.

Miss Guyana Universe 2011 Kara Lord (third from left) poses with the newly-crowned Miss Guyana Sari Queen 2011 Tanaina Samaroo (second from right). Looking on are fourth runner-up Asmini Devi Singh (first from left), first runner-up Mohini Roopchand (second from left) and second runner-up Ivonna Dasrat (first from right). (Anjuli Persaud photo)

A special prize for best stage appearance was awarded to Roopchand, while best smile was awarded to Ramlochan. Also among the nine contestants were Patrice De Abreu, Amanda Khan, Anjanie Devi Singh and Shaneeza Sookwa.

The final question was poorly answered by all five finalists, as each struggled to find the words to complete their every sentence, and this may have contributed to the judges’ overly long deliberation.

When asked, “If you are to be crowned queen tonight, what would you do during your year of reign to promote and uplift our Indian culture?” Samaroo said, “Given that I am crowned queen tonight, as the beginning of tomorrow I will like to reach out to schools and attack the young children in schools and raise awareness about culture, the positive way.” This response was given with much hesitation.

Bibi Haniff, 63, awed the audience with her splendid dance moves during both her performances at the Miss Guyana Sari Queen pageant. (Anjuli Persaud photo)

The intelligence segment of the pageant was hosted earlier on MTV Channel 65 and those scores would have been added to what the contestants accrued on the pageant night.

After the announcements were made, Ramlochan expressed her disagreement with the judges’ decision and caused an uproar with the support of her friends, who joined her on stage. Ramlochan refused to be photographed with the other finalists and stormed off the stage.

Judges were overheard saying what a “sore loser” Ramlochan was and stated that their choice was based on how well the queen had represented herself.

Ramlochan and her friends congregated outside the NCC yelling distasteful remarks and opining that “she get rob.”

The newly-crowned queen proved to be unique in every aspect as she stepped out, beautifully adorned in a cocoa-brown, hand-stitched, sequined sari. It was a very rare colour for the dress type. Her display was said to not have only showcased what the Indian culture has to offer, but told a story of love and devotion to the land and of the return of Lord Rama. The sequins represented the lights that were lit for Lord Rama’s safe return. Samaroo gracefully displayed the work of art, which came from Lynette Mangar’s Fashions.

Also, while most of the other delegates would have demonstrated a dance item for the talent segment, Samaroo chose to sing popular filmi song, “Kabi Khushi Kabhie Gham,” which won major support from the audience as applause was heard even after she had left the stage.

The queen earned herself a trophy, a crown, a bouquet of flowers, two gift vouchers, valued at $150,000 in total, a BlackBerry smartphone, a flat screen television set and an air ticket to Trinidad.

Despite the tireless efforts of the nine contestants, patrons became focused on the organizing team and panel of judges after the pageant rolled on into the wee hours of the morning.

Tired, the audience became upset, making numerous offensive remarks, some of which were met with humorous responses by the hosts. The female host was at one point heard ironically stating, “what a cultured audience we have tonight,” while the male host, Merano Isaacs, parried with: “seems as though the people from Wakenaam missing their boat… I’m sure Wakenaam night pageant is so much better,” to which screams of affirmative answers echoed through the NCC.

The event was considered completely disorganized by patrons, though the prolonged programme could have been as a result of the judges’ long deliberations.

Throughout the night, the host and hostess had called on Bhajans singers Sita Panday and Davendra Pooran to entertain the audience while preparations for the next item on the agenda were being made. The selections offered by these two artistes were much appreciated but the audience grew fed up with them as time moved on.

Besides the vocal talents of these two, patrons were also pleasantly surprised by a very versatile and dynamic 63-year-old Bibi Haniff who performed two stunning dances.

Also called to the stage at frequent intermissions was the ‘Hott Shots Caribbean Band’ which also grew tired of the prolonged programme. As the results were being announced, Joel Ghansham, a judge at the event and also the organizer, called for the drummer, but the musician refused to return to the stage. Finally, another band member was forced to sit at the drums and provide the final drum roll when the queen was announced.

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