Guyana barred from participating in Miss Universe Pageant

National director Jyoti Hardat, Miss Universe 2016, Iris Mittenaere and the newly crowend Miss Universe Guyana, Rafieya Husain at the 2017 Miss Universe Guyana Competition.

Guyana will not be allowed to participate in this year’s Miss Universe Pageant, according to the most recent franchise holder Jyoti Hardat, who says the country is being barred because of the “nasty emails” and “death threats” sent to the Miss Universe Organization in the ensuing controversy over last year’s delegate.

After being accused of running a rigged contest in New York, in favor of the crowned Queen Rafieya Husain, Hardat said she left the Miss Universe Guyana organization and she also indicated to the international organization she was no longer interested in the franchise. “I left the organization since last year. I was no longer going to foot the bill and face defamation of character. I spent so much over the years trying to build something and people keep trying to crumble it,” Hardat told Stabroek News from New York yesterday.

According to her, it was in last November when she decided to relinquish the franchise for which she had paid a significant sum because of all the hate and defamation of character she faced. She explained that the franchise has to be renewed on an annual basis and she had indicated that she was no longer interested.

In January, Hardat explained, she was told by the Miss Universe Organization licensing director that they were not allowing Guyana to participate in the pageant this year regardless of who the franchise holder is. According to Hardat, it was because “of the way people acted, all the hate mails received.” She also claimed death threats were sent to the organization as well as to herself and Husain.

In a later statement, she said that the organization decided that they’ll be working with new territories this year to give other countries a chance at the crown. “This seemed fair since I knew what they and myself had gone through, with the constant harassment,” she said in the statement.

A Guyana Times report said yesterday that they were informed by a committee member that Guyana was being barred because of all the complaints the organization received against Hardat. The former franchise holder refuted this claim and said that none of the committee members were in a capacity to make such statements.

Asked if she was aware if anyone had indicated an interest in purchasing the franchise this year, Hardat said she was unaware but noted that she was the only one who spent money for the franchise and running the pageant, while the other persons on the committee were just volunteers. She noted that the company was solely owned by her. She said she spoke to the Miss Universe Organization and was informed of the hate mail it received, which was disrespectful to the organization. She pointed out that the organization has over 90 countries to deal with and was not prepared to allow one country to derail its plans.

“I have been footing the bill for three years, trying to make the organization into much more and getting it up to standard with other countries. There are people who are racist and hateful and try to tear it down… So I made a decision not to renew the franchise…,” Hardat said to this newspaper.

Some of the contestants in the preliminary leg last year had complained bitterly about the pageant on US television and on social media. Three pageant volunteers had also made allegations on social media.


Original article appeared on Stabroek News

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