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Apr 20, 2017

Miss Belize Universe and Tony Rath’s Controversial Exposé

Miss Universe 2016, held in Manila, Philippines at the end of January, is now several months behind avid fans of pageantry. The stellar performance of Miss Belize Universe, Rebecca Rath, galvanized Belizeans all over, despite failing to place in the top thirteen contestants. But tonight, there is controversy brewing in the aftermath of a five-part article written her father, photojournalist Tony Rath, which has been shared on Facebook. The article, titled “The Rocky Road to Miss Universe”, documents the family’s journey from Dangriga to Manila, as well as the often tumultuous relationship they purportedly experienced with the pageant’s country director. Rath does a remarkable job of chronicling each step of that journey; however, there are points in between during which he throws local organizer Opal Enriquez under the bus. She is shaded for what can only be described as incompetence in fulfilling her obligation to the contestant and the pageant. That article has picked up considerable steam in the realm of social media and continues to be the buzz around the water cooler. Earlier today, we spoke with Therese Rath who stands firmly behind her husband’s decision to publish the story of Rebecca’s pursuit of the coveted title.


On the phone: Therese Rath, Mother of Rebecca Rath

“Tony’s work, job, career is to photograph and document.  He’s taken up many issues, they’ve tend to be conservation or, you know, the Chiquibul.  I guess he’s well known for the Chiquibul issue.  This was something that encompassed our lives for six months and it had a great impact on us and so Tony documented with our full support.”


Isani Cayetano

“In the article there are points in which Tony borders maligning Opal Enriquez, based on either the professional and other claims that don’t necessarily appear to be substantiated.  Do you stand behind the claims that are being made based on your experiences having dealt with Ms. Enriquez?”

Therese Rath

“Actually I absolutely do.  You know, I think that a lot of people are not familiar with the process for these international pageants and how they actually work.  These are private sector driven, with contracts that clearly stipulate what the licensee is supposed to fulfill and it is a license that you have to apply for and are granted and in many cases, this one in particular, you have to pay for.  The fees are not small, they are manageable but they are not small.  In this case I believe the Miss Universe contest, the competition is in the vicinity of seventy-five hundred U.S. dollars.  My daughter participated in a contest, Miss Belize.  There were specific prizes that were mentioned at the contest, in public, on Channel Five and there is a contract that she was obligated to sign as a contestant for Miss Universe.  I am not in the pageant community but I am in business and so the first thing I did was read the contract and ensure through our own legal advice and to ensure that whatever Rebecca signed we are able to fulfill.  Now there is also a contract that the licensee had that specifically says what they were supposed to do.  The public presentation in the country of Belize is that it was Queen of the Jewel Miss Universe, Queen of the Jewel Miss Belize.  All, everything they’re talking about is Queen of the Jewel.  The company that is incorporated in this country, the principals of whom are Reynaldo Malic, OJ Elrington and Opal Enriquez.  So the general impression, if you look in the media, is that those people or that committee, as people keep referring to it, are people who are responsible for the Miss Belize Universe.  That is incorrect.  The license for Miss Belize Universe says nothing about Queen of the Jewel.  It is granted specifically to Opal Enriquez and it specifically says that Opal Enriquez is the country director and that she has to ensure that those obligations that are clearly stipulated are met.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Miss Belize Universe and Tony Rath’s Controversial Exposé”

  1. Guest says:

    I hate to say this but the article is all sour grapes and one foreigner thinking that they live in Belize and have the right to criticize. That is they know it all now and us poor Belizeans are just lowly jacks that cannot handle it. Yes, we are proud of Bex, but who is her father to tell off a country like that. He is not dissing Enriquez, he is dissing Belize. And no this is not Enriquez writing this.

  2. Edward says:

    Relax yourself sore losers- take it gracefully/ when Tony goes out and attacks people online- this is the least he deserves- then he hypocritically sits and eats with those very same people their dinner- can’t you see he is a difficult busybody and even the person you thought was impartial came out agreeeing with opal? Rath is a difficult busybody lashing out when he can’t get his way- suing people and slandering them- sue his #%^^ – nobody likes him anyway and he brought this on himself

  3. Danny says:

    How can we even hire such a person that doesn’t even live in Belize and doesnt even fulfill her obligations? That person is a traitor to our country and needs to be replaced right away. Im at aww at people defending Opal Enriquez, this has nothing to do with losing a contest, it has to do with fixing this system and its corruption and replacing all those people getting paid without lifting a finger if we ever want to prosper as a Country.

  4. Kriol Chicken says:

    Sounds like the pageant organizers are keeping the $25,000 scholarship for themselves…corruption rampant in Belize.

  5. Guest says:

    Tony Rath can write his point of view but that doesn’t make it truthful. He and his wife duo their noses into everything and always want to have their own way. I knew when their daughter wasn’t going to make it they would not be able to stand defeat. Get over it Rath family!

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