15 July 2009

Walcott: It’s too late for Miss Universe

If asked to Gabrielle Walcott will not represent Trinidad and Tobago (TT) in the Miss Universe 2009 pageant which takes place in the Bahamas next month.

There is just not enough time for either her or any other woman to prepare for the internationally popular beauty competition, said Walcott, the third-placed winner in the Miss World 2008 pageant.

“I understand girls have to be there in the Bahamas in the next two weeks. I would never do myself or our country that injustice or disservice. How could I be prepared in just two weeks?” Walcott told Newsday.

Several broadcast media reports over the past two days claimed Walcott was expected to be approached by the Government to represent this country at the pageant. TT has had two winners at Miss Universe, Janelle Penny Commissiong in 1977 and Wendy Fitzwilliam in 1998, along with a string of semifinalists in recent years. Giselle La Ronde won Miss World in 2006, and again, this country has had successful runner-ups in this competition.

In 2008, Anya Ayoung-Chee represented the country in the Miss Universe in Vietnam, while Walcott went to South Africa for the Miss World competition. Ayong-Chee did not place among the semifinalists but Walcott placed third, and even won the Queen of the Caribbean prize.

Walcott denied the media reports and said no one from the Government had approached her to be a possible delegate to send to Bahamas. Even so, Walcott said it would be too late for her to get ready to compete.

“I think it’s just too late to be properly prepared. Our girls have done well at that competition before and I don’t want to be one to spoil that record.”

Former pageant trainer Allyson Brown, who has previously helped past delegates to both beauty competitions, was also in the dark about Walcott or any other woman being selected for Bahamas.

“I did not hear anything. I have absolutely no information whatever on that,” said Brown.

According to Miss Universe Inc, 86 countries have already confirmed their attendance with this country listed as a withdrawal along with Antigua & Barbuda and Sri Lanka.

That this country would be without a delegate at Miss Universe and possibly Miss World 2009, stemmed from the previous struggles of former franchise holder Peter Elias to obtain consistent support from the Government and the business community. In 2007, TT did not take part in Miss Universe because of lack of funding, and afterward Government stepped in and supported Valene Maharaj’s entry to Miss World 2007 where she placed third.

Elias could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, after Walcott’s success at Miss World last year, Elias stated that he was giving up the franchise for both competitions.

Source: Joan Rampersad of newsday.co.tt