MONROVIA, Montserrado â€“ The organizers of the 2015 Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant said that the pageant could not be held due to the lack of sponsors. They are still struggling to find sponsors for this yearâ€™s event.
The event was initially expected to take place on July 31, 2015, at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia but the acting managing director of 11 Stripes, Bendu Johnson, told The Bush Chicken on Wednesday that the expenses of staging the beauty pageant prevented them from holding the event without a sponsor.
Johnson said the show was unable to obtain corporate sponsors including telecommunications companies, adding that â€œcompanies are refusing to sponsor the pageant because of its recent historyâ€ of controversy where organizers in 2012 announced a different winner than the one selected by judges.
She said the pageant organizers are now constrained to work with the government to raise the necessary money.
â€œIt is very frustrating after having the girls hold their patience for that long and nothing positive seems to be happening,â€ she said.
Johnson is hoping to meet with the Minister of Information, Eugene Nagbe, soon to discuss a way forward.
She said the process is very costly because it is not a community pageant where people can solicit money from their neighbors.
â€œWe as organizers have also invested so much in the pageant from the beginning up to now,â€ Johnson said.
She explained that Liberia has already missed out on the 2015 Miss World beauty pageant, and they are working very hard to ensure that the country would be represented in 2016.
In 2012, a controversy brewed over the pageant when two contestants were announced winners. Christopher Onanuga, the C.E.O of CT.com, organized the pageant.
There were reports that the organizers announced Lofaâ€™s Rachael Knowlden as the winner against the choice of the judges, who selected Brigitte Rouhana of Montserrado as the winner.
Following the controversy in the Miss Liberia 2012 Beauty Pageant, a committee set up to probe the matter recommended that an audit be conducted by the General Auditing Commission on all activities relating to the pageant.
The committeeâ€™s report blamed the Information Ministry for its miserable failure to collect and ensure periodic reports, as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding submitted by CT.com.
The report also accused the ministry of failing to provide proper documentation and explanation for the US$35,000 budgeted by the government for the hosting of the Miss Liberia 2012 Beauty Pageant.
The committee recommended in its final report that the results of the 2012Â pageant be canceled and Liberia should make no representation at the 2012 Miss World Beauty Pageant.Â The Liberian government acted on the report and nullified the results.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah