This type of behaviour will not encourage tourism
Stabroek News
April 23, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I am flabbergasted by the behaviour of many in connection with the recently concluded Miss Guyana Universe 2002 Pageant.

It is appalling to see the way these ill-mannered Guyanese behaved. Firstly, the loud, inappropriate and disparaging remarks directed to the contestants whom they did not see as being favourable or as their chosen winners in the swim suit segment of the pageant was totally uncalled - for. Secondly, the reaction of the crowd at the National Cultural Centre after Mia Rahaman emerged as the queen of the night was atrocious.

There were countless shouts of "boo" and many persons began to pelt paper and other objects toward the stage in an obvious mockery of the judges' decision and to show their open disapproval with this decision.

These people did not even consider the impact that their uncivilised behaviour would have on the foreigners who were in the country at the time, including those who were in attendance at the National Cultural Centre. It was easy to recognise the astonishment on the face of Miss Fitz - Williams as she observed the reaction of the crowd after they realized that Mia Rahaman had won the pageant. We want to promote tourism in this country, is this how our people are going to behave in the midst of numerous tourists who are observing our culture and our country? Is this undisciplined attitude promoting any aspect of our country? Mr. Lumumba has indicated his interest in holding the Miss Universe Pageant here in Guyana in a few years, I suggest he think about this idea again. The attitude of the Guyanese public is definitely not appropriate for holding pageants, more so on an international level.

The controversy began when most people's favourites did not manage to gain a place in the top-five. Who made these people judges? Who gave them the right to decide who the final five contestants should be? The controversy climaxed after the final question was answered and the crowd's favourite (Miss Juanita Collins) placed third, things became more heated after the queen was chosen from the two remaining girls on stage (Miss Petal DeSantos and Miss Mia Rahaman). There was still some hope that another crowd favourite - Miss DeSantos would be crowned Miss Guyana Universe 2002, but this did not happen, she was announced as the first runner-up and Mia Rahaman was announced as the queen - much to the dislike of the raging crowd.

Miss Collins was brilliant and confident in her answer but she lacks the appearance and deportment of a Miss Universe representative. Miss DeSantos answered her question creditably but her gown knocked her completely out of the competition for this was not one of a queen. Miss Rahaman was just superb in her answer and got a well-deserved tle of "Miss Guyana Universe 2002". Mia's weight can be compared to that of a previous Miss Universe - Miss Alicia Machado from Venezuela.

Another point I would briefly like to touch on is the attitude of certain television personalities toward our queen. They openly criticize and condemn Miss Rahaman and allow others who call in to their programme to do so as well. Their sponsors should stop supporting their programmes if they do not desist from making and encouraging these degrading remarks.

I think we as Guyanese should come together and support Miss Rahaman in her quest for Miss Universe and send her off to Puerto Rico with confidence knowing that she has the full support of her people.

Yours faithfully,

C. Weaver