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2005-09-02 18:24:32

Pageant Denies 'Miss Teen' Claims

Committee members claimed they had a number of problems, including that she had been unavailable for more than 12 public appearances, and failed to show up for several prize presentations.

The Miss Teen Bahamas pageant committee admitted yesterday it did not favour contestants portraying homosexuality. But members denied that Gari McDonald was stripped of her crown because she is a lesbian.

At a heated press conference, the committee appeared defensive, and it was only under pressure that the anti-gay bias was revealed.

Pageant director Chakita Bonimy said the pageant was based on the principles of moulding young Bahamian females aged 13-19 in the areas of spirituality, social behaviour, academics and personal development.

She said that after certain allegations were brought to the committee's attention regarding Ms. McDonald, the committee met with her in private. But she said sexual orientation was not the specific focus of the meeting.

In addition to accusations which were being internally investigated, several committee members claimed they had a number of other problems, including a claim that she had been unavailable for more than 12 public appearances, and had failed to show up for several prize presentations from sponsors.

Richa Sands, the pageant's assistant director, said Ms. McDonald had failed to collect her itinerary and had been warned that the committee was not pleased with that type of behaviour.

Source: The Tribune

 
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