Miss World/Trinidad and Tobago 2013 Shereece Villafana has been stripped of her crown.
A press release yesterday from the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation, headed by director Athalia Samuel stated: “This dethronement has become necessary as a result of unsettling reports brought to the attention of the organisation.
“These reports concern conduct that is not in keeping with the high moral and ethical obligations the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation strives to maintain,” the release stated.
When contacted by the Express, Samuel confirmed that Villafana, who represented T&T at the Miss World Pageant a month ago at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre in Bali, Indonesia, was formally released from her responsibilities as Trinidad and Tobago’s Miss World representative.
Samuel said the decision to strip Villafana of her crown came after the organisation received a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister informing them that Villafana received $200,000 in sponsorship money to help with preparations for the Miss World pageant.
Samuel said Villafana received the money without informing the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation.
“Prior to leaving for the pageant, I asked various agencies and organisations for sponsorship and every time I asked for assistance they would respond that they already gave money, which I found to be strange because we never received any money,” said Samuel.
“I didn’t know what they were talking about and at times I felt embarrassed because I had no knowledge of receiving any of the monies they said they gave. I eventually questioned Shereece about receiving any monies, which she denied.
“Eventually, we received sponsorship through various events, as well as from a company in London who eventually paid for our airfare, hotel accommodation and spending money.
“Before we left to go to Miss World in Indonesia, there was some disturbing information that we were aware of but we were not able to confirm anything before leaving. After initially denying that she received $200,000 from the Office of the Prime Minister, Shereece eventually admitted during our recent post-mortem meeting to receiving the money after I showed her the letter from the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Her reply was, ‘So what, everybody tells lies’.
“What Shereece did was dishonest and embarrassing to the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation. She has to account for the money she received. The contract clearly tells you that all monies that you receive should be handed over to the organiser, that is the person responsible for your affairs and getting you prepared for the pageant,” Samuel said.
“We still have people to pay for her dress and so forth and little tokens that the Miss World Trinidad and Tobago Organisation wants to send out for the people who helped us.”
When contacted, Villafana had no comment to make on the matter.