Ida Margarita Barry Pickering asks her dance partner, “You think you appeal me, young boy?” during the first annual Mr. and Ms. Senior BVI Pageant on Sunday at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. (Photo: ZARRIN TASNIM AHMED)

Nehemia Prince, 81, strutted on stage and displayed his dexterity with a routine involving pelvic thrusts and dancing while removing his coat on Sunday evening during the first annual Mr. and Ms. Senior BVI Pageant.

He went on to win the crown along with Mariette Fahie, 76, after they captured the audience with performances in four categories: introduction, cultural wear, talent and evening wear.

It may have been Ms. Fahie’s touching tribute to her parents, who died around Mother’s Day in the past, that won the hearts of the crowd. For her skit in the talent segment, she sat on a chair, reminiscing about her parents and expressing her sorrow before standing up and throwing her robe away.

“[Mom] wouldn’t want to see me like this,” she said before getting up and singing a song of hopeful reunion.

From the start, Mr. Prince’s antics got attendees laughing and cheering so loudly that emcees Trefor Grant and Sophia Rubaine had to ask the crowd to quiet down so that he could finish his introduction.


The auditorium at HLSCC was jam-packed for the event, with many attendees standing in the periphery of the venue.

This was the first-ever senior pageant in the Virgin Islands, and support came
from many places.

“The community and businesses came out to support the event,” said Sharma George, programme director for Age Care Services in the Social Development Department. “But the seniors were the ones who made the event a success. … All of them were into it.”

Besides Mr. Prince and Ms. Fahie, the contestants included Marion Scatliffe, 81; Marilyn Norman Harvey, 76; Ida Margarita Barry Pickering, 79; and Daniel Blyden, 66. The contestants were supported by local businesses and members of government.

The event, Ms. George said, has been in the works since January with contestants practising and rehearsing since February.

The pageant was part of the department’s 30th anniversary, and other events are planned throughout the month to commemorate, acknowledge and appreciate seniors, Ms. George said.

“May is recognised as our senior month globally,” she added. “We follow suit within the territory.”

Held under the theme “Connect, Create, Contribute,” Senior Month events began on May 1 with a church service at the Sea Cows Bay Methodist Church.

Along with open houses at the senior centres in Carrot Bay, Sea Cows Bay and East End, there will be a Not- So-Newlywed Game, a Seniors’ Ball and a Food and Cultural Fair.