Miss Charity 2013, Tema Wickham
PARTICIPANTS, sponsors and event chaperons who took part in the Miss Solomon pageant have called for the audit of the funds spent to stage the show.
This followed reports of missing funds and faked cheques being issued to charity groups by previous organising committees.
Sources claimed the committees in previous pageants also failed to pass on the funds they raised to the designated charities such as the National Referral Hospital Children’s ward, Gynae ward, Ear, Nose and Throat department, Red Cross disability centre and San Isidro disability.
Also 2012 pageant’s major sponsor Solomon Airlines and Solbrew Company were said to have withdrawn their interest in sponsoring this year’s pageants.
For this year also participants have uttered their numerous disappointments dealing with the committee.
“Company’s held back their interest to sponsor a representing queen because of the mistrust in the organizing committee, which we find it very difficult especially for fundraisings,” a participant this year who requested anonymity, revealed.
Queens represented selected charities to raised funds in aid to return to the organizations; however the sources said they received fake cheques and received less the amount as written on the cheques by the pageant committee.
“In 2010 NRH Children’s ward and gynae ward as part of the charity received a cheque of $13,800 yet received only $10,000 delivered in cash,” the source revealed.
“The cheques didn’t have signatures on it.
The source said all the payments were done following the pageant’s launching this year.
“Non-payment of money and promised equipment to NRH and Red Cross surfaced this year yet the committee said it is confident for this year’s pageant,” the source claimed.
These also triggered a serious discussion in social concern group Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) face book page following a thread posted, where chaperons and contestants complaining also how they were promised.
In 2010 pageant, organizers called for an audit into the funds for Miss Solomon 2010 demanded by the sponsors.
“In 2010 we called for an audit, however heard not for such,” a previous organizer who wants her name withheld claimed.
“Sponsors and chaperons of 2010 pageant are still waiting for some explanation.”
The complaints also call for an independent committee apart from sponsors.
“The committee should comprise of an independent members, not involving the sponsors.
Chairman of the organizing committee however welcomed the call for an audit.
“We welcomed the call to provide audited reports on the events, I was the chair of the committee,” chairman of the committee, Tony Karaua said.
The call is for an audit, judging criteria, sponsorship, charities fundraisings and outstanding bills.
Meanwhile, in this year’s pageant the sources claimed that business houses involved are yet to receive part of their payments; these include Mermaid Fashion and Lavas Fashion for dresses used by the contestants.
The country also will be the host this year for the Miss South Pacific; the issue will develop in the print media this week.