Pageant winner, organiser in dispute over winnings
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July 29, 2011
Pageant winner, organiser in dispute over winnings

Almost one month after the conclusion of major Carnival activities, one winner of the rural festivities claims that she is still waiting to collect all of her prizes.{{more}}

Nikiann Williams, Miss South Windward, on a visit to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, July 27, accompanied by her mother Roxanne, says that she is yet to receive a cellular phone and prize monies that were promised to her by the organizers of the pageant, and has reasons to believe that these prizes were being kept from her by chairman of the committee St. Clair “Megie” Stephenson.

Williams, who will be participating in the Miss Rural SVG pageant this weekend in Canouan, said: “I think it is unfair that he is not fulfilling his promise, because he is the one that asked me to enter the show in the first place.”

“I must admit that the exposure was good, but it is not worth it if you are a winner and don’t get all your prizes.”

“I spoke to one of the persons who is also on the committee and he said that “Megie” got the phone and he (Stephenson) said that ‘She would not want this.’”

Williams claims that apart from a few items she collected on the night she was crowned Miss South Windward, she also collected a television set from Courts St. Vincent Limited, and a monetary donation from a resident of the South Windward constituency.

Meanwhile, Stephenson, the man at the centre of the controversy, defended himself by saying that Williams and her mother have got it all wrong.

Stephenson told SEARCHLIGHT when contacted on Wednesday that not all prizes were meant for Williams, and that Williams and other contestants took matters into their own hands after the pageant.

“We had seven contestants and only two of them were sponsored…. These people have it wrong. They went along and did their own thing.”

“We were supposed to have a prize giving ceremony, but she went ahead and collected the TV from Courts and went and collected a monetary donation without our consent.”

Stephenson also admitted receiving a mobile phone from LIME and cash from the Carnival Development Corporation.

“The handset was not for her… it was for another contestant, but we haven’t decided who we will give it to as yet.”

“The monies we received from CDC was not for the contestants, it was for the running of the carnival, and we had to provide almost everything for them and still run the events with that money.

Stephenson also denied claims by Williams that she had to cover all her costs, which included getting from her home in Campden Park where she resides to Biabou for training for three weeks.

He said that he made arrangements for the student of the St. Vincent Community College on most occasions, while at other times, she had her transportation arrangements in place.

He also denied that a similar situation had occurred last year after the South Windward Carnival events.

Stephenson blames the misunderstanding on the eagerness of Williams and other contestants, and claimed that he has nothing to hide since he is an honest man.

“We spent a lot of money on the girls and tried to be fair with them so that we could give them a little financial help…. They didn’t wait for us and they went and did their own thing.”