18 January 2013

West Africa: Miss ECOWAS Organizer Breaks Silence

The organizer of the 2012 Miss ECOWAS Peace Pageant, 702 Productions Ltd, has broken silence on Liberia's participation in the event in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

702 Productions Limited is an event management company based in Ghana. In 2008, the company entered into a working arrangement with the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja to organize the annual ECOWAS Peace Pageant to crown a Peace Ambassador, who will champion the cause of peace-building and youth's involvement in the development agenda of the ECOWAS member states.

The company in a response to a New Dawn's inquiry about how Liberia became part of the 2012 event expressed shock that there is an upheaval here following the participation of Miss Brigitte Rouhana and Miss Metzger Ulla Weyatta from Liberia in peace pageant.

The company detailed in an email to Liberia that in September 2012, Gender in Motion International (GIMI), a Liberian based agency expressed interest to represent 702 Production Ltd in Liberia.

After reviewing its profile, the email read, "We gave them a letter on the 24th of October 2012, appointing them to represent 702 Productions, authorized to use the Miss ECOWAS Liberia brand for the 2012 Event."

"This appointment was accompanied with our rules of participation and qualification as well as Parent's Consent form which every delegate is expected to submit on arrival in camp," the email explained.

Montserrado County District #9 Representative Munah Pelham is Founder and CEO of Gender in Motion International (GIMI), the agency that sent the names of the two contestants to represent Liberia at Miss ECOWAS. The company also told the New Dawn that the two contestants did not represent Liberia, as Miss Liberia.

"The two delegates in question were therefore submitted to us by GIMI as the two Miss ECOWAS representatives for Liberia. They did not come as Miss Liberia contestants," the email noted.

The company noted that they did not write to any Liberian government office, because according to them, the relationship is a private sector partnership.

"All the countries where we are represented, the local representatives take responsibility for fulfilling the countries' requirement for their citizens' participation in international events such as ours."

There has been serious controversy here on why Representative Munnah Pelham took the two Liberian girls to represent the country without knowledge of the government.

But the lawmaker has argued that she did no wrong by keeping government off the recruitment process regarding who to represent Liberia. She noted that as far as she is concern, the two girls are ECOWAS citizens, and also ordinary Liberians whose talents needed to be showcased.

"They have their rights as Liberians to [participate] in any international events; they don't have to be Miss Liberia queen before they represent their country outside.

In fact, let me tell you one thing; I am nationalistic; I do not care about where you come or what tribe [you ] are; I respect everyone equally," she noted.

In an interview with this paper, the young female lawmaker called on the Ministry of Information to keep quiet and pay attention to those sectors of Liberia that will benefit the common people.

She remains defiance, and has said that she will not subject herself to any committee that will be set-up by the Ministry of Information about Liberia's appearance at the Miss ECOWAS pageant.

She noted that there are many national issues government needs to investigate, pointing out that the death of a JFK employee, Balla Scott, who went missing and was later found dead in the hospital compound as well as the death of the late Representative Moses Tandapole .

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