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The 2020 Miss PNG Pacific Island Pageant has been officially cancelled.
The Chairperson of the Pageant, Mrs Molly O’Rourke, in a statement announced yesterday that the main reason behind the decision was due to “the economic situation in the country as a result of Covid 19”.
The annual event relies heavily on donations and sponsorships hence it would be difficult securing same while at the same time selling tickets to the public during this difficult time.
“I want to express our sympathies to those companies and MPIP PNG supporters who have laid off workers and who are facing tough times” said Mrs O’Rourke.
The Chairperson acknowledged the increasing interest in this event some of which had already directly indicated their interest to participate.
“Please be advised that we will contact you with our plans for next year. There are about 10 young women who had sent us their expressions of interest to enter the pageant” said the Chairperson.
A new entrant, Miss Milne Bay was expected to participate for the first time this year but the latest decision means that Miss Milne Bay’s inaugural participation will be deferred to 2021.
Despite the setback, the Madang pageant is going ahead.
“Miss Madang pageant will take place next week (July 25). Former Miss Madang, Miss PNG and Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha, and the current Miss PNG Lucy Maino will be guests of Madang’s prominent citizen Sir Peter Barter” said Mrs O’Rourke.
“The Madang pageant has a worthy cause and that is, to raise funds for the Rotary Club and the Modillon Hospital every year” the Chairperson added.
The decision to cancel not only affects the annual pageant in general but also the unique initiatives and programs that come with it – one of which is the MPIP PNG Scholarship Fund.
Of the funds raised last year, the pageant reportedly spent an amazing K150, 000 on 52 young women studying at various institutions around the country this year. Under the present circumstances, there is little doubt that the same is unlikely to happen.
The head of the Pageant acknowledged the tremendous support of current sponsors led by its major Sponsor and a supporter of Skerah, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority. Other supporters acknowledged included the National Gaming Control Board, Moore Printing, B Mobile and the National Broadcasting Corporation.
The Pageant has done a wonderful job in the empowerment of women as well as the promotion of Papua New Guinea as a tourism destination. The most notable and recent being the successful hosting of the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in November 2019 which was eventually won by Miss Samoa.
Despite the unfortunate setback, Mrs O’Rourke says for the remainder of the year the MPIP PNG will continue its charity visits and talks at schools, and to groups of young women. The first talk is expected to be at the Motu Koita Assembly Moresby South Netball this month where Miss PNG’s talk will focus on of the country’s concerning and pressing issue – Gender Based Violence.
Pic: Mrs Molly O’Rourke (By Rocky Roe)