Miss SVG runner-up disgusted at the way she was treated by CDC
November 2, 2012
Miss SVG runner-up disgusted at the way she was treated by CDC

Second runner-up in this year’s Miss St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) pageant, Jovonne John, says she is disgusted at the way she was treated by the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) and the Beauty Shows Committee {{more}}in relation to her participation in a recent overseas pageant.

John said in August this year, she was chosen by the Beauty Shows Committee of the CDC to represent SVG at the inaugural Miss Caribbean Tourism Pageant in St Kitts on October 27.

She said the committee in St Kitts had organised to have the contestants purchase plane tickets at a discounted price.

“Each person had to pay their way to the show and that was to be purchased by October 1…,” she said.

On October 2, John said when she asked head of the Beauty Shows Committee, Cheryl Rodriquez, via e-mail, if the ticket had been purchased, Rodriquez said, it had not.

“She (Rodriquez) said she asked the secretary at CDC to purchase the ticket, but she (the secretary) did not get back to her. That sounded a bit fishy to me….In that same e-mail, she asked me if I would still like to go…,” John added.

“I told her I still wanted to go. These people in St Kitts had me in their advertisements promoting the show all the time….”

John related that she was required to send a video of herself to the committee in St Kitts, which she said the Beauty Shows committee was supposed to help her organise.

“I did it all by myself. My sister and I went to Gardens (Botanic Gardens) and did that video by ourselves and sent it to the committee in St Kitts…,” she added.

A few weeks later, John said a meeting was held between her, Rodriguez and another member of the Beauty Shows committee, at which a budget was agreed for the show, which she said amounted to $4,100.

“That should have covered everything for me to go to St Kitts.

It would have covered two plane tickets; one for me and my chaperone; $500 for my hair and nails, $1,500 for an ambassadorial wear and $300 for a swimsuit.”

John said after the figure was agreed upon, Rodriquez said she would present it to the CDC and await a response.

This, she said, was two weeks before the show, for which she was required to arrive in St Kitts on October 24.

“I made a suggestion that they could ask the St Vincent Brewery for assistance, because they sponsored me at the Miss SVG show, but that did not happen.”

“On Saturday (October 20), she (Rodriquez) emailed me and told me it seems as if you can’t go and they did all they can … that was it. I did not receive anything that was promised and this was like a week before the show…,” John told SEARCHLIGHT.

“I even suggested that they didn’t have to send a chaperone with me, which would have helped to cut cost. I was left in a position feeling like they did not care about me. I just did not know what to think. I just found it strange that they could not fund me to go to the show. It was not even a lot…”

John added that she planned to use the same gown from the Miss SVG pageant, and perform the same talent also.

“The budget did not even include anything for my talent or gown…,” John noted.

On October 23, the day before John was scheduled to leave for St Kitts, she was sent a carbon copy of an e-mail that was sent to the pageant co-ordinators in St Kitts, by Rodriquez.

The e-mail stated: “Dear Derrick, Trust that all is going well for you and your Committee and that you have a most successful show on Sat. D.V. The CDC informed that they are unable to send Jovonne to the pageant. We tried and that is their decision. Please accept our sincerest apologies and thank you for your kind understanding. God bless. Cheryl.”

“How are you going to wait until the Tuesday before the show to e-mail the committee in St Kitts to tell them I would not be participating. How disrespectful and embarrassing is that?” John asked.

With the determination that she had to represent her country, John said she made arrangements on her own. She said a close friend assisted her in purchasing the plane ticket, which she said amounted to $936.

“I only confirmed with them on Wednesday, the same day I was scheduled to leave, that I would be able to make the trip.”

“It was all on me. I had to prepare everything. Shernicia Myers did my swimsuit, and luckily, it won best swimwear.

“I went to St Kitts tired, stressed and frustrated. When I was on stage, I was there performing, but my mind was elsewhere.

Despite this, John placed first runner-up and took two of the five judged categories, including best swimwear and best talent.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the CDC Dennis Ambrose said while he was aware that John was supposed to participate in the show, he was not aware that she used her own funds to attend.

He added that Chief Executive Officer of the CDC Ashford Wood had told him that John was supposed to participate and that she was seeking some level of support from the CDC and some from a private sponsor.

“I don’t know how much of that materialised. I can’t commit to saying what happened…,” Ambrose told SEARCHLIGHT.

John thanked Aziza Williams, 2012 Miss SVG contestant and her mother, and Miss SVG 2011, Aviar Charles for their assistance.

“I really felt disrespected and this is a breach of contract… It’s a moment in my life I would never forget. It filled me with pride and honour to go there and represent St Vincent on our Independence, but the story behind this is just so sad.

“I did not win the crown, but I certainly feel like a winner today. I am proud of myself. It’s sad that St Vincent did not even know I was going to represent them.”

John said on the day of the pageant, she learned that the other contestants had attended a function on October 23, during which they were given topics to prepare for the interview segment of the show.

“They didn’t give the girls questions specifically, just topics. I did not even know this until the day of the show. I had so many things going on at that time and it was only when I was there sitting, waiting to go out in my evening wear, I went over topics which they asked questions from.”

She said she had “a little stumble” in her interview, but is of the view that had she arrived in St Kitts on time, she might have been bringing back the crown to St Vincent.

SEARCHLIGHT made initial contact with Rodriquez on Wednesday, who promised she would entertain our call later that day; but our subsequent calls went unanswered.

Several telephone calls to Wood also proved futile.

The inaugural Miss Caribbean Tourism pageant was won by Miss St Lucia Consuela Dupal. Miss St Kitts Trevicia Adams was second runner-up.