The Miss Universe U.S. Virgin Islands pageant was held this evening at Divi Carina Bay Casino, but the results of the competition led to some controversy, as not a single of the four local women who were in the competition placed. There were ten contestants, and the top five were women from elsewhere with no known ties to the territory.
Commotion at the end: While various individuals were expressing their grievances about the outcome, the event’s official photographer, after a back-and-forth with a woman expressing her displeasure with the results, shouted at this woman “shut up!” A commotion broke out, and out of concern for the safety of his family, contestant Anumaat’s father said he moved to peacefully difuse the situation, fearing it could escalate into something worse. At one point Anumaat’s father said he thought the photographer was reaching in his back pocket for a weapon, and therefore demanded that he be removed from the room.
The pageant, which is owned by a company named IMG, has in place lax rules that allow contestants from a region to participate in any of the region’s competitions, once they can meet the criteria. According to Lulu Orange Tyson, the director of the Miss Universe USVI event, criteria include local residency (living in the territory six months), or attending a local university, in the territory’s case, UVI. Tonight’s winner, Andrea Piecuch, who has been residing in St. Thomas for the past few months, met the residency requirement, Ms. Tyson said. Even so, the results angered eventgoers who see the outcome going to someone who has no ties to the USVI, as an insult. Full story Sunday morning. Watch the video.
Feature Image: Five top five competitors stand upfront as the four local girls who did not place, stand at the back. (Ernice Gilbert, VIC)