Contestants in the Mr Caribbean 2019 competition are calling on individuals to change their mindsets and appreciate the creative talents and expression of the youth, whether male or female.
The Mr Caribbean show, which is being held for the first time in Tobago, takes place today at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
Some nine men from throughout the Caribbean – Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Barbados, St Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Suriname, Dominica, Tobago and Trinidad – will vie for the title.
Speaking with the media at the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation in Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough, the men said people must change their mindset about the event ,as many people associated it with homosexuals. They said this is misleading.
“As it stands, women have all these different avenues to portray their talents: they sing, they dance, they prance…whatever their talents may be. Men have those same abilities with very little avenues to be able to portray that," said Mr Dominica, Jorvan Kerwin Jno Baptiste.
He congratulated the show's founder and chairman, Marie-Antoinette Mora, for creating a platform to showcase their talents and abilities.
Marvin Halden, representing Suriname,said: “Every show is different and this Mr Caribbean competition that would be held in Tobago will show people that there is another side to a competition that you can see. There’s more that men can show, it’s not only about being beautiful from the outside, but also being beautiful from the inside as well.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s Timoy Titus said pageants are not meant only for women.
“It is 2019. This show is a celebration of culture, celebration of our own island, celebration of who we are. Men usually get the stigma that we are negative in terms...of our talents, and this competition it really brings out so much talent. It gives us the opportunity to see that men are more than just muscles.”
Yohance Smith, of the British Virgin Islands ,called on people to be open-minded.
“Don’t just bask in whatever is in your head. Be accepting of new things that come to your society or even your little communities.
"This is an avenue where us as men get to portray our best self. It;s not only about us, as we are here representing our countries and territories, so we’re not here only to showcase our talent, but also promote our island and showcase the talent of our island as well,” he said.
Chairman and founder of the event Mora is hoping the show will attract a large audience.
The contestants were also welcomed by co-ordinator of the Department of Culture in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Glenda-Rose Layne.
Layne said the competition builds on Tobago’s tourism product.
“This initiative is testament to the creativity of our Caribbean people and showcases our uniqueness and dynamism.
“Very few young men would have wanted to come up to the challenge, because people see these kinds of event only in one sphere. I was following a lot of you, the contestants, and I was seeing who was doing little clean-up things in their islands, doing different stuff, and I felt that in itself showed a level of maturity, a level of leadership, and I must applaud you all,” she said.