Beauty pageant’s ugly feud

By Staff Writer ,

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Miss Samoa Victoria, Adele Fa’aosofia.

Miss Samoa Victoria, Adele Fa’aosofia.

A spokesperson for Miss Samoa Victoria, Rita Seumanutafa, has refuted claims made by Pulotu Canada McCarthy and Miss Samoa Victoria Beauty Pageant (M.S.V.B.P.) about the legitmacy of Adele Fa’aosofia’s entry in the 2017 Miss Samoa Pageant.

At the beginning of the week, Pulotu and M.S.V.B.P. claimed Ms. Fa’aosofia, one of nine confirmed contestants for next week’s pageant, should not be allowed to contest the title.

Pulotu has gone as far as to take “legal action” against the contestant for allegedly breaching her “contract with Cantoa.”

“Technically, Adele shouldn't be allowed to travel to the pageant to compete as the pending matter is now with the court,” Pulotu said.

But Ms. Seumanutafa, of Miss Samoa Victoria Incorporated (M.S.V.I.) vehemently rejected the claim, saying Ms. Fa’aosofia “had chosen not to be represented and sponsored by Camtoa”

In a statement issued by Ms. Seumanutafa, on behalf of the contestant, she claimed Ms. Fa’aosofia had decided against being represented by M.S.V.B.P. because of a number of grievances which relate to events leading up to, during, and after the pageant.

One of the grievances involved money allegedly owed to her family members -- and others -- for tickets they had purchased for the pageant night.

As for the change of sponsorship, Ms. Seumanutafa said there is a perfectly logical explanation for this.

“On 2 August 2017 -- the closing date for registrations to Miss Samoa 2017 -- M.S.V.B.P./Cantoa submitted an incomplete application form on behalf of Adele,” the statement reads.

“This two-page form, filled out by either Pulotu or Aumua’s hand, was not signed by Adele -- who was unaware of the form being sent, and was not accompanied by the $300SAT registration fee.  

“The only supplementary document attached to the application was the business name registration of M.S.V.B.P., however, after a thorough check by S.E.I., in regards to the business’s operative status, it was found via the Australia Taxation Office website that the business’s A.B.N. (Australian Business Number) had the status of “cancelled”, since June 26th 2017.  

“According to the A.T.O.’s glossary page on its website ‘A status of cancelled means the business has ceased trading’. S.E.I. had no choice but to reject the incomplete application. Today, another search shows that the A.B.N. for M.S.V.B.P. is now current, as of 14 August.

“On the same day, M.S.V.I. submitted an application form to register Adele as their entrant. 

“The application was accompanied with all legal documents, as well as a letter from Adele outlining why she had parted ways with M.S.V.B.P./Cantoa and moved to M.S.V.I.” 

“The 15-page application, attached with Adele’s medical report, community organisation support letters, and police report, were also attached. The application was accepted and approved by S.E.I. on the basis that all requirements in this application were met meticulously.

“On Friday 4 August 2017, Pulotu and Aumua McCarthy met with Adele’s parents, Pastor Esera and Safata Fa’aosofia.  Adele’s parents thanked the McCarthys for their time and efforts in organising the pageant on 29th July, but insisted that because there was no sponsorship agreement put in place (just her previously signed application to enter the M.S.V. pageant), Mr. and Mrs. Fa’aosofia told the McCarthys that they were finding their own sponsor for Adele. 

“The McCarthys seemed relieved and grateful that the family were willing to find a way for their daughter to enter the pageant.  The McCarthys left the Fa’aosofia residence on good terms with the family. 

“A video recording of this meeting was made and is in the hands of the Fa’aosofia family and is ready for use in the event of court proceedings regarding this matter.  On this day also, a letter was sent from M.S.V.I. and V.I.C.Sac to M.S.V.B.P./Cantoa giving them a heads up that they will sponsor Adele in Miss Samoa 2017. 

“A letter dated 8 August 2017 was sent to S.E.I. Director ,Laeimau Oketevi Tanuvasa, from Pulotu’s solicitor, Paul Lewis of Total Legal, requesting that Tanuvasa allow Pulotu to submit his now-completed registration for Adele. This letter was posted on a public Facebook page by user ‘OlePalemia’ 29 August, as well as partially printed in the Samoa Observer. 

“On Friday 12 August, M.S.V.B.P. crowned Monalisa Irene Siania as their Miss Samoa Victoria. They announced on their Facebook page that she was going to enter Miss Samoa 2017 as Miss Samoa Victoria.  However, Pulotu had not registered her as a candidate before the cut-off date (2 Aug).

“On 26 August, M.S.V.B.P. announced on their Facebook page that Adele Fa’aosofia had brought the M.S.V. crown in to disrepute and they had stripped her of her crown/sash, which is now to be worn by new M.S.V. title holder, Monalisa. There was no sponsorship/representative contract presented to Adele, nor was there one signed.”

Ms. Seumanutafa insists there is no contract between Ms. Fa’aosofia and Cantoa.

“It is unfortunate and sad to see that two innocent young Samoan women have been dragged in to a drama that should never have occurred,” the statement says 

“From the very start, even before the pageant took place, we had publicly called-out the organisers of the event to acknowledge our first Miss Samoa Victoria in 1999, Gina Tafea, but they ignored our public posts and statements.  

“Many of us who had seen previous advertisements of the upcoming pageant were wondering why Gina had not been acknowledged or even invited to ‘hand over’ her crown, which was her right as the previous title holder. 

“Pulotu had an opportunity to host a great event for our community, considering that it was the first pageant since Gina was crowned 18 years ago. 

“He has created so much noise and nuisance in recent weeks -- he needs to humble himself and accept that his mistakes need to be fixed.

“For those of us who are calling for accountability and justice in this whole ordeal, we have been subject to false accusations and online abuse from members of M.S.V.B.P./Cantoa via social media and the media in New Zealand.

“However, our Melbourne Samoan community is in a very strong position at the moment, we are led by the Victoria Samoan Advisory Council (V.I.C.Sac), and are represented by various groups who promote Samoan culture, music, and dance all year round.  

“We applaud our people for helping Adele get to Samoa, in particular the elders of our community who prayed for us, rang in to the radio stations and sent us their blessings -- as well as the young who put their social media skills on high for our cause.  

“We started with absolutely no money three weeks ago and with the help of everyone who answered our call, we raised the amount we needed to continue her campaign. We wish our Miss Samoa Victoria representatie, Adele Fa’aosofia, the very best -- as well as all the other beautiful tama’ita’i Samoa competing for Miss Samoa 2017.”

The finale of the Miss Samoa pageant is scheduled for next Saturday with the contestants today beginning the pre-pageant activities.

 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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