Margarette Alcindor held the Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth in the 1980s Golden Age of Caribbean/African beauty contests when such events attracted national media interest. A Ghanaian, she was the first African to take the crown. Today Margarette shares her recollections of those days, what it meant to be title-holder, and thoughts of the title today which now has a Ghanaian director.
“It is a pleasure to be able to make a contribution to this record of Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth, as I will always be grateful for the opportunities that I was presented with as a result of the competition.
Today I am currently working full time as a Training and Personal Development Officer and a mother of 4 wonderful daughters. I have previously worked as a Cabin Crew Member for British Airways for 20 years, in addition to working as a lecturer, tutor and assessor in Further Education and for Training/Apprenticeship Organisations.
Taking part in Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth was a fantastic opportunity for me at the time as there has always been a standard of excellence, professionalism and class associated with this particular pageant which enabled it to stand out from many other competitions running at that time.
I was approached to enter by a photographer of a local paper (The Gleaner) and won in 1986 on board a boat to Amsterdam. At the time, the competition did not have many participants entering from Africa, so I felt both honoured and privileged to represent Ghana (the birthplace of my parents). I was very nervous and I was aware of the high standard represented from previous winners and also from the girls who had entered. I was so excited to win as I really wanted to see greater representations from Africa, and being the first African titleholder makes me feel immensely proud.
During my reign, I met my local mayor, participated in some fund raising events/charitable events and gave many interviews on my local radio stations. I also did some work with the local police force.
I was unable to travel to Ghana at the time to celebrate my win, as the representatives that would have been responsible to chaperone me were unable to make the commitment at that time. Instead I was fortunate enough to travel to St Lucia for my prize and had an amazing time. I met the Prime Minister of St Lucia (John Compton) and many other local dignitaries who welcomed me onto the island and treated me as though I was a part of their family.
Interestingly enough, 7 years after my wonderful trip to St Lucia, I met my husband (David) on board a flight returning from his holiday in St Lucia. I was one of the Cabin Crew Members operating the flight and it transpired that I had originally met him 9 years previously on a train travelling to my first job (before my Miss Caribbean and Commonwealth win). He recognised me and the rest as they say is history!
Looking at how the competition has progressed over the years still fills me with immense pride. Shirley has really worked hard to keep the standard and the reputation of the competition high and is as equally as dedicated and as passionate as was Clayton, the founder and first director. What Clayton started was amazing and I know that Shirley will continue to ensure that Miss Caribbean & Commonwealth goes from strength to strength. I am proud to be associated with the title and as mentioned earlier on, proud that I am the FIRST African title-holder!
Love and best wishes to all our readers
Thank you, Margarette. You were – and remain – a credit to the title