The pageant committee, which has been organizing the Miss Cayman Islands Universe pageant for over two decades, has become the franchise holder for the contest following the Ministry of Tourism's decision to withdraw from the beauty contest business last month. The committee announced that it had been granted the license and will now take on the responsibility of organizing the pageant going forward.
Derri Lee, the committee chair, has been appointed as the National Director by the Miss Universe Organization, while Catherine Tyson was appointed the chairperson effective, April 1. However, the committee has had a tumultuous year, which included allowing this year's winner, Tiffany LeAnn Conolly, to compete while facing criminal charges.
The decision proved to be a controversial one, with Conolly ultimately being dethroned after being found guilty of assault and other charges related to a violent incident that occurred in October 2021 at her former lover's family home. Chloe Powery-Doxey, who competed in the Miss Universe contest after the reigning queen was suspended from public duties due to the controversy, replaced her.
Despite the setback, Lee stated that the committee has been working hard to restructure the organization and will be making some changes in the near future. She also acknowledged the importance of building strong, lasting relationships with sponsors, adding that the committee has been successful in maintaining its sponsors over the years due to its clear vision and mission.
It is unclear how much the franchise cost the committee, as they have yet to respond to inquiries from media outlets. However, open-source information suggests that the franchise can cost as much as $5 million or as little as $10,000, depending on the country and the circumstances of the franchise applicant.
The Miss Universe Organization itself has gone through changes in recent years, with the pageant now under the ownership of Thai media tycoon Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip. She has already made significant changes to the competition, including allowing all women, including transgender, married, pregnant, or divorced contestants to enter.
In her statement regarding the acquisition of the franchise, Lee emphasized that the committee recognizes the Cayman Islands' conservative culture and intends to adhere to it. However, with the pageant now under new ownership and evolving rules, it remains to be seen how the Miss Cayman Islands Universe contest will change in the years to come.