After some three hours of intense competition and sizzling entertainment last Saturday it was 19-year-old Atasha Pantlitz who walked away with the inaugural crown of the 2019 Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort pageant. The pageant, which was held at the Skeldon Heritage Resort, saw a large turnout of people who came to witness eight ladies vie for the crown.
Newly crowned Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort queen Atasha Pantlitz
Although the pageant got off to a late start due to technical reasons, patrons were entertained and treated to a high standard of pageantry by the young ladies who ranged between the ages of 14 and 23 years old. The eight contestants showcased their stuff as they all competed fiercely in an effort to have the distinction of winning the crown for the first time.
Director General of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Donald Sinclair, said that he first learnt of the pageant via the media and immediately contacted the organisers. Sinclair commended the organisers for being creative, innovative and having a timely pageant. He stressed that his organisation was pleased to be associated with it and said that come 2020, GTA will be a major sponsor. He said that GTA will be working with the resort in expanding and further growing the pageant.
“After reading about this pageant, I said that I must be there and I brought some persons to view the pageant so that come next year we can be better able to assist the organisers. I believe that such a pageant can really grow and we at the Authority would allow the winner to be the face and voice for us in this part of the cou
The Queen flanked by other runners-up and delegates
ntry. Certainly this pageant can grow whereby it produces tourism ambassadors for Region Six; young ladies who are not only physically beautiful but young ladies who can represent their region, their village and say good things about where they grow up,” Sinclair said.
The Director General added, “I am sure persons can tell a friend, overseas relatives, any one about this very special place called the Skeldon Heritage Resort where they can spend some time and learn something about the heritage of sugar and the traditions in this part of Guyana.”
The event was hosted by popular personality Linden Murray who coordinated the pageant, and Heart of Heart Founder and 2020 Miss Guyana World Delegate, Jamacia Mc Almount.
Those, who competed with Pantlitz for the crown in the segments of Intelligence, Talent, Resort Wear and Evening wear were: Natoya Rawlins, 19; Ishieka Nowrang, 18; Latisha Boyce, 18; Lalita Laljit, 14; Felicia Reece, 16; Renee France, 15, and India Laljita, 15.
The ladies all gave a good account of themselves in the respective categories and a number of supporters made their backing quite evident. However, it was only Rawlins, Pantlitz, Reece and France who made it into the final round.
While a few fumbled with their answer to the final question (What three things would they do to market the Skeldon Heritage Resort?), Pantlitz’s response was very pleasing to the audience which erupted in screams of excitement. Rawlins supporters also went into a frenzy when she gave her response.
It was clear the judges had their work cut out for them. But it came as no surprise that it was just one point that separated the queen and her first runner-up. Many patrons expressed satisfaction with the results and urged the organisers to ensure that such high standard of pageantry remains a constant feature.
For being crowned queen, Pantlitz secured a cash prize of $200,000, a weekend for two at the Watooka Guest House, a gift basket, one year free entry to activities and events taking place at the resort along with one year marketing contract with the resort, where she will be their spokesperson and facial image. The first runner-up, Rawlins, took home $100,000 while the second runner-up, France, walked away with $75,000, and the third runner-up, Reece, got $50,000. The runners-up also each received a gift basket, one year free entry to activities and events taking place at the resort, a weekend stay for two at the Berbice Inn Hotel, among other prizes. The best talent award was won by the first runner up, while the queen won the best evening gown award. Additionally, all the contestants each received a gift basket compliment of Ansa Mc Al Limited. The competition was sponsored by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and Ansa Mc Al.
After some three hours of intense competition, nineteen year old Atasha Pantlitz walked away on Saturday with the inaugural crown of the 2019 Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort pageant.
A release yesterday from the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) said that the pageant which was held at the Skeldon Heritage Resort saw a large turnout of persons who came to witness eight ladies vying for the title.
The release said that the queen took home $200,000, a weekend for two at the Watooka Guest House, a gift basket, one year’s free entry to activities and events taking place at the resort along with a one year marketing contract with the resort, where she will be their spokesperson and facial image.
The pageant was organised and sponsored mainly by NICIL/Special Project Unit (SPU). The SPU’s task is to oversee the privatisation of sugar estates that have been closed and other matters.
Nine young beauties are vying for the inaugural title Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort. The pageant will be staged at the Skeldon Heritage Resort (formerly known as the GUYSUCO sugar estate) tomorrow night.
This event will see the young ladies competing in four categories; the intelligence, talent, resort wear, and evening wear as they compete for the coveted crown and several attractive prizes. The theme of the pageant is ‘Diversity’ and this theme was fuelled by the fact that the contestants competing are from diverse backgrounds and races.
The delegates who hail from communities in and around Skeldon have all expressed confidence of doing well, and sparks are set to fly among two sisters who are competing head to head in the pageant.
Coordinator of the pageant, Linden Murray who is the brainchild behind the initiative said that it was over a year ago that he conceptualised the pageant and felt confident that if executed the response would be very good. He disclosed that when a call was made for contestants they were very heartened by the response they received. He said that some of them were unable to go further owing to the limited sponsorship opportunities in the area.
He said that after being entrusted with the management of the resort he decided to use the pageant as a marquee event for the resort.
The contestants include Chovesha Tahal a 22 year old television hostess and marketing agent at Channel 19 TV station, 15 year old Renee France hailing from the Amerindian community of Siparuta, and Ishieka Nowrang, 18 years old and currently works as a cashier at Muchies Fast Food Outlet.
Competing as well is 15 year old India Laljit who is currently a student at Skeldon Line Path Secondary School, Lalita Laljit who is the younger sister of Indira , and 19 year old Natoya Rawlins who is considered among the contestants as one of the two veterans owing to the fact that she has contested in six pageants already and won three of those. Atasha Pantlitz is a 19 year-old and is the other veteran who like Rawlins has competed in six pageants as well. Despite only winning two crowns she is very confident of taking home the inaugural crown.
19 year old Latisha Boyce who is eagerly awaiting competition night to showcase her stuff is currently pursuing studies in her quest to become a Human Resources Officer, That aside, in the lineup also is 16 year old Felicia Reece, a fifth form student at Sheldon Line Path Secondary where she will be writing seven subjects at next year’s CSEC exams.
Meanwhile, the young ladies are being taken through their paces by popular pageant trainer Simeon Burnett who is also a television host of the popular Channel 19 programme in Berbice, Music Mix.
Tickets for the pageant are already on sale at a cost of $1000, while music for the event would be provided by Uprising Sound Systems. It was disclosed that a number of popular artistes and performers will also grace the stage and Berbicians near and far, are guaranteed an exciting experience, come pageant night.
A three-day judiciary retreat was recently held at the Skeldon Heritage Resort, according to a release yesterday from the National Commercial and Industrial Investments Limited (NICIL).
The building is one of the assets from the now shuttered Skeldon sugar estate transferred to NICIL and which has been employed for heritage tourism According to a press release yesterday from NICIL, Privatization Specialist ag, Rachael Henry disclosed that the resort catered for some 70 members of the judiciary and she is very pleased that despite a few challenges the response to the facilities and opportunities being offered at the resort are certainly of a high standard. “When we were approached to host this retreat we recognised immediately that there were a number of repairs, renovations and additions that we would have to do if we were going to be ready to effectively and efficiently catering for this very important retreat. I must confess however that while it took a few months to enhance and improve the facilities, we were able to successfully pull it off,” Henry said.
The Privatization Specialist pointed out that the repairs and renovations totalled millions but quickly stressed that the resort will benefit in a long term way. “We spent millions to get this place ready and I am happy to say that we remain confident that in time we will reap the long term benefits of the works done. Skeldon Heritage Resort has not lost from this investment and fortunately we will continue to reap from this work and timely investment,” Henry noted. Henry said that because of the major renovations and refurbishment, the resort stands firmly ready to host major and larger events. She said that a number of rooms saw ACs being installed, while several of the rooms were transformed into self-contained rooms.
The recently concluded three-day judiciary retreat held at the Skeldon Heritage Resort has been described as a success. This is according to NICIL’s Privatisation Specialist, Rachael Henry.
The newly renovated Skeldon Heritage Resort Main House
Henry said that the resort catered for some 70 members of the judiciary. She is very pleased that despite a few challenges, the response to the facilities and opportunities being offered at the resort are certainly of a high standard.
She said that from the resort’s end, the retreat was successful and they are confident that similar retreats by other organisations and institutions will be held at the resort.
“When we were approached to host this retreat, we recognised immediately that there were a number of repairs, renovations and additions that had to be done to get the resort ready for such a very important activity. I must confess however that while it took a few months to enhance and improve the facilities, we were able to successfully pull it off,” Henry stated.
“We spent millions to get this place ready and I am happy to say that we remain confident that in time the Skeldon Heritage Resort will reap the long-term benefits of the works done,” Henry noted.
She is confident that the refurbishment will further enhance the resort’s marketability.
Among works undertaken was making a number of the rooms self-contained with ACs and other amenities being added. The idea is to make the facilities top class and one of the best in the country.
Persons attending the resort feel that it is an ideal environment as it affords them an opportunity to enjoy the country breeze and calm atmosphere. Patrons staying at the resort also are able to partake in both indoor and outdoor games, while being able to be part of a tour of the former sugar factory.
“Our efforts are geared towards further improving and increasing the standards so that persons whether local or overseas can have an experience of what this heritage resort has to offer.”
Persons are being encouraged to visit the facility so as to get a better understand of some of the excellent and appealing scenery that Guyana has to offer.
According to Ms. Henry, a number of additional works are being planned for the resort which will further enhance its capacity and competitiveness.
Coordinator of the inaugural Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort Pageant, Linden Murray, says that the pageant will highlight a number of social ills facing youths in the community.
Coordinator Linden Murray surrounded by the nine delegates.
He said that with the pageant billed for October 5, 2019 he is anticipating that those taking part in the pageant will be able to further advance and enhance themselves through the experience gained.
Murray who is well known on the Corentyne for his significant contributions in community and voluntarism services, said that the pageant will seek to highlight some of the ills that are facing youths with the aim of bringing needed attention to them.
“I am very grateful that through NICIL/SPU, I am getting an opportunity to make this pageant a reality so that collectively, we can have some of the challenges and difficulties being faced within the community, addressed.
“There is an urgent need to have these addressed so that the youths primarily can be assisted,” he said.
The former GUYSUCO’s Community Development/ Industrial Welfare Officer said that the pageant is not the typical pageant as it seeks to highlight the talent and skills of the young ladies. He said that it would be a launching path for a number of opportunities for many of the girls.
“In determining what I can do to help in further enhancing the community, after I was asked to manage the resort, there were several ideas and after discussion with several persons from the community. I decided that having a pageant would be ideal as together with the resort, we would be able to bring attention to several issues affecting young people, especially our young girls. “Several of our young people are at home doing nothing, while some are starving for opportunities and activities to engage them positively, therefore this pageant will serve to provide that,” he said.
He admitted that the community relish on competition among themselves, as such he anticipates a very high level of competition among the ladies with at least five having pageant experience. He stressed that they are anticipating about 1500 persons turning out.
He disclosed that the resort has approached businesses within the community as they wanted it to be a completely community oriented affair, but admitted that sponsorship has not been as favourable as they had anticipated.
He revealed that some businesses initially had given their word to support financially but as the pageant approaches, some have pulled out citing various reasons.
“Several businesses have told us that economically, things are very difficult, but I recognise that with the election spirit around many businesses are holding back; however, I am very grateful to our parent company NICIL/SPU and Ansa McCal who are two major companies that have stepped up to the plate.
“There are other businesses from the community that have come forward to help but we are still seeking additional sponsorship so as to ensure that the pageant is one that can be considered very successful,” Murray stressed.
The Resort Manager however firmly feels that the number of persons who turns out to the resort especially on Sundays has helped in making the resort a first choice for many who seek to relax especially with their family.
He reiterated his view that the pageant is going to come off very well, stating that the excitement among the community is very high. He said that the support from the community to the services offered at the resort is heartening.
He noted that they have on average some 500 persons who would relax and lime at the resort on Sundays. He revealed that since the closure of the estate the community have gravitated to the resort in a very positive way as they recognise that the community doesn’t have many clean entertainment venues that caters primarily for families.
“As such, they are eager to continue enhancing the services that we provide here, which includes the swimming pool, pools table, accommodation in terms of rooms and apartments among others,” he said
He said that while other pageants held in the community were deemed mediocre, with NICIL/SPU being the primary organisers they are not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring that the standard and level of the pageant is of the highest level.
“In previous pageants held in the community, the primary objective of organisers was just to make money; however we at NICIL/SPU have a different agenda as we are seeking to build community capacity, while providing needed entertainment and opportunities to many.
“As such, the pageant is not geared at financial gains as the benefits that we seek would be long term as we seek to further enhance the community,” he opined.
“The monies made from this pageant are not going into the pockets of any person. Rather it would be used in enhancing and further developing this resort so that it can be a tourist attraction for many.
Residents in the community can access it for whatever activities and events that they are holding.”
Nine beautiful, intelligent young ladies will vie for the crown at the inaugural Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort Pageant, which will be staged at the Skeldon Heritage Resort (formerly the Skeldon Sugar Estate) on October 5, 2019.
This event will see the young ladies competing in four categories: intelligence, talent, resort wear, and evening wear as they compete for the crown and several attractive prizes. The theme of the pageant is “Diversity” and this theme was fuelled by the fact that the contestants are from diverse backgrounds.
The young ladies who hail from communities in and around Skeldon have all expressed confidence that they would do well, and sparks are set to fly among two sisters who are competing head to head in the pageant.
Pageant coordinator Linden Murray, who is the mastermind behind the initiative, said that it was over a year ago that he conceptualised the event and he felt confident that if executed, the response would be very good. He explained that after being entrusted with the management of the Resort, he decided to use the Pageant as a marquee event.
Murray disclosed that when a call was made for contestants the organisers were very heartened by the response they received. However, some of the prospective delegates were unable to go further owing to the limited sponsorship opportunities in the area.
The contestants include Chovesha Tahal, 22, a television presenter and marketing agent at Channel 19 TV station; Renee France, 15, who hails from the Amerindian community of Siparuta, and Ishieka Nowrang, 18, currently employed as a cashier at Muchies Fast Food outlet.
Competing as well are 15-year-old India Laljit, who is currently a student at Skeldon Line Path Secondary School; Lalita Laljit, who is the younger sister of Indira and 19-year-old Natoya Rawlins, who is considered one of the two veterans among the contestants owing to the fact that she has contested six pageants already, winning three.
Atasha Pantlitz, 19, is the other veteran, who like Rawlins has competed in six pageants. Despite only winning two crowns, she is very confident of taking home the inaugural Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort Pageant crown.
Latisha Boyce, 19, who is eagerly awaiting competition night to showcase her stuff, is currently pursuing studies in her quest to become a human resources officer. That aside, in the line-up also is 16-year-old Felicia Reece, a Fifth Form student at Skeldon Line Path Secondary, where she will be writing seven subjects at next year’s CSEC exams.
Meanwhile, the young ladies are being taken through their paces by popular pageant trainer Simeon Burnett, who is also a television host of the popular Channel 19 programme in Berbice, “Music Mix”.
Tickets for the pageant are already on sale at a cost of $1000; music for the event would be provided by Uprising Sound Systems. It was disclosed that a number of popular artistes and performers will also grace the stage and Berbicians, near and far, are guaranteed an exciting experience, come pageant night.
Skeldon Heritage Resort promoting family time, cohesiveness in the community
By Nafeeza Yahya
SITTING on the far eastern end of East Berbice-Corentyne, a stone’s throw from the Corentyne River and overlooking the 100 plus years of sugarcane plantation history sits the picturesque Skeldon Heritage Resort (SHR), formerly the managers’ compound of the Skeldon Estate. The compound now under the control of NICIL has become the hottest spot on the Corentyne for relaxation, entertainment and family fun. The resort sits on 48 acres of pristine greenery and with its cool, fresh Atlantic breeze, persons are destined to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Skeldon Sugar Estate is located approximately 74 kilometres east of New Amsterdam. With
24, three-bedroom bungalows, the Great House, a guest house with eight self-contained rooms, dining hall, a training facility that is perfect for seminars, benabs, a swimming pool, recreational facilities for, cricket, basketball, volleyball, lawn tennis and other sports, the resort is perfect for any family fun, corporate retreat or educational tour and offers a “unique escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.” On a typical Sunday, the facilities have an average of 500 adults and children who visit to make use of the pool and other amenities.
Among the exquisite beauty to explore at the SHR, is the ‘Great House or what is now called the ‘Grand house’; the two-storey, suspended timber and shingle structure was built in 1910. While rehabilitation work was done over the years, the historical building was able to retain its original features. The name speaks for itself with the first floor so ‘huge’ and spacious it would take some time to explore; the level offers dining and the living area while the second level contains the bedrooms. Over the years the structures have retained most of their original features such as the regal vintage look, covered verandahs and wide overhangs. The building was used as the official residence of the estate manager; it also offers the most pleasing scenery as well as a swing on the ground floor. In front of the building contains a cannon, while around the house are numerous fruit trees, flowers and a kitchen garden.
The management of the facility is looking to add a few more amenities such as a restaurant and sports bar to encourage even more visitors and guests, while maintaining the rich cultural and historical heritage of the sugar industry in Guyana.
“This was an estate setting and we want people to have an appreciation of how the managers used to live, so they can come and rent the houses. We want to encourage people to come down, spend a weekend. We want to create an all-inclusive package where persons can come to the resort, be at peace and at the same time experience nature at its best, with expeditions to the back dams and fishing trips,” said Manager of the facility, Linden Murray.
The compound has been under control of NICIL since April 2018 and has also served as the go-to spot for entertainment-starved residents for the past year and with the plans in store, the manager told the Pepperpot Magazine that they may soon run out of space.
The former senior staff club building has been converted into an executive bar; there will be more benabs and Gazebos added to the resort and a spanking new sports bar will be constructed.
Because of the layout of the place with its well-kept lush green lawns and trees that provide shade, it is the ideal area for picnics or camping and with security service 24/7, patrons are safe around the clock.
But the management of the resort is simply not content to sit and wait for customers to walk through the door and make use of the pool and other facilities. They are planning to organise exhibitions, safari trips, beauty pageants, weekend bar-b-ques, karaoke, sports events and other events.
According to Murray, the team while trying to provide entertainment, is also looking to educate and promote social cohesion. For this August holiday, plans are afoot to have a mixture of education and fun for everyone, with literacy classes coupled with aquatic and track and field classes. The holiday will culminate with the Miss Skeldon Heritage Resort Pageant on August 31. The pageant will see a bevy of beauties vying for the inaugural crown which the organisers plan to make an annual event. It is open to females on the Corentyne between the ages of 17-25. It will feature a swimsuit segment, evening gown segment and intelligence segment. Leading up to the event will also be a day of sports with live entertainment by local artistes and a popular stereo system.
Further, the team at the resort is also looking to have an exclusive kids area with all safety measures in place, so that the children can have clean fun away from the adults while being safe.
According to Murray, the transformation of the compound into a resort was the best thing to happen on the Corentyne, as patrons are giving rave reviews and keep asking for more activities beyond the 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs operating period.
“We are encouraging sober family entertainment, quality time with their families. The only place you can have this is at Skeldon Heritage Resort. You should come down if you want to have clean fun; this is the best thing to happen in Corentyne.”
With a rich history in sugar, the estate spans 34 square miles. The factory and machinery that remain serve as a reminder of this history. The SHR intends to preserve some of that history as they hope to share it with the world.
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