The tidal wave of criticism, the hoots and jeers which have exploded around former Mayor Zenaida Moya for her role in the September Tenth crowning of a rival Queen is well deserved.

She had no authority whatsoever to do any of the things she did: that is, create an unauthorized crown and robe for the Orange Walk Queen, Miss Esmeralda Cal, and then to proceed all by herself to crown her as Queen of the Bay, in defiance of the September 10th Committee, which had decided to crown Miss Aaliyah Ysaguirre, the Queen of Stann Creek.

The shocking spectacle of the bustling former Mayor, dressed in jeans, pushing her way forward and placing a make-shift crown on the head of the Orange Walk candidate, was, to say the least, astonishing.
After the farce of crowning her own candidate, Zenaida came back to give the bewildered Orange Walk Queen a peck on the cheek. She was escorted offstage by a police woman, but continued to justify her own rebel actions as being righteous and justified.

In more than 70 years of formal Queen of the Bay crownings Belizeans have never seen anything like it. This is a pageant with a distinguished lineage of formality and pomp, following an age old formula where the retiring Queen of the Bay crowns the new Queen and invests her with her Crown, her Robe and Scepter “to rule over the hearts of the people of the Bay”.

Zenaida in her red shirt and blue jeans and clumsy gait was certainly no queen, and her intrusion on to the ceremonial platform made her an imposter. But throughout this ridiculous charade one mighty fact stands out, and this is the reason the former Mayor used for her strange and unprecedented action.

As an insider to the selection process she knew that there was something wrong and sinister about how the Orange Walk Queen, Esmeralda Cal was being brushed aside in favour of the Stann Creek Queen, Aaliyah Ysaguirre.

Miss Cal had scored higher in the judges’ estimation than Miss Ysaguirre. She had scored higher in the Talent Competition, the Best Dressed Competition, and was selected as Miss Photogenic. She and her Orange Walk backers had a legitimate expectation that she would have won the competition.

The reason she did not win was due to some backroom maneuverings, where for rumoured reasons of ethnicity the organizers wanted to see a Creole Queen of the Bay instead of a Hispanic Queen.

This was a shocking revelation; that prejudice of this sort could have been allowed to influence sound judgement. Zenaida Moya was right to be outraged, but the measures she took to single-handedly correct the situation were the wrong measures.

But we’ve got to hand it to her. It took a lot of gumption to do what she did. We don’t approve of her methods, but we understand where she is coming from.

By exposing malfeasance in the historic Queen of the Bay celebrations she has done Belize a service! It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
We know that none of us in Belize want to see our country divided along racial lines. So we need to condemn racial prejudice wherever we find it!

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