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Sep 2, 1999

Controversy in Queen of the Bay Pageant

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Last Friday night, August twenty-seventh, Ladyville held its beauty pageant in which five young ladies competed for the title. At the end of the contest, Sophia Williams walked away with the crown. Today, the student of Belize Continuation High School visited News Five to say she was shocked to learn that the first runner-up, Shana Fitzgibbons has entered the upcoming Queen of the Bay Pageant and is competing as “Miss Ladyville”. Williams, who brought her crown, evening gown and plane ticket with her this morning says she could not believe the news and that no one from the Ladyville Pageant Committee has spoken to her since Friday night.

Sophia Williams, Miss Ladyville

“I was not chosen to go up for Miss Queen of the Bay and I think that I deserve it because I work very hard for being Miss Ladyville and I feel very hurt and concerned.

Well nobody come to me; they just pick somebody else in the place of Miss Ladyville.”

Q: “How did you find out that they were sending up another young lady?”

Sophia Williams

“I heard it over the radio this morning when I was getting dressed to come to Belize City.”

Q: “How did that make you feel?”

Sophia Williams

“That made me feel very hurt because I work very hard and I think I deserve to go up for Miss Queen of the Bay.”

According to Emma Boiton, coordinator of the Queen of the Bay Pageant, the Ladyville Committee told her before the pageant that they would be sending a contestant to the Queen of the Bay Pageant, but declined afterwards. She says they heard about Miss Fitzgibbons through a teacher of the village who asked the young lady’s mother if she would consider having her daughter compete in the national pageant. According to Boiton, the mother agreed and then approached the Ladyville Committee to see if they would sponsor her. Boiton says as she understands it, the committee told the mother they could not accommodate her and would prefer for Miss Fitzgibbons to represent her area: Lord’s Bank. Boiton also said that all contestants for the Queen of the Bay Pageant must be at least seventeen years old and that it is unfortunate that Williams, who is sixteen, was not informed of this when she entered her village pageant. News Five spoke with the Ladyville Pageant Chairman Godfrey Pook who says he was just as surprised as Sophia Williams when he heard on the news that Shana Fitzgibbons had entered the Queen of the Bay Pageant as “Miss Ladyville”. He confirmed that her mother had asked the committee for support but that they had declined and asked her to run as “Miss Lord’s Bank”. He says no one from the Queen of the Bay Pageant ever spoke with him personally about entering a contestant and that the village pageant was held as a part of the September Celebrations and it was never their intention to enter the Queen of the Bay.

The Queen of the Bay controversy does not end there however. Also today the Belmopan Celebrations Committee has denied rumors that they are not participating in the pageant due to financial difficulties. They say the decision was made by Miss Belmopan herself and that the pageant organizers are placing “unfair pressure” on Patricia Ann Usher to compete even after they were informed of her decision.

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