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Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago in a mess


Dethroned Miss T&T Cheryl Ankrah fights battle in court as benefactor turns bane


March 18, 2005: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago. For, Miss Cheryl Ankrah, who was elevated to the prized post was stripped of the title by the same instituion that anointed her. Now, the matter is in court. Order, order!!

The Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago contest is organised by peter Elias and associates, which crowned her as Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago on August 22, 2004. But subsequently, the company said that the beauty queen was not sticking to her commitments or maintaining her body properly. The company sent Cheryl Ankrah several warning letters and finally decided to hold another pageant to select the candidate for the Miss Universe 2005 to be held in May 30 in Bangkok. When she came to know of it, Ankrah moved the High Court and obtained an injunction preventing the company from going ahead. Since the candidate for Miss Universe has to be finalised by April, Peter Elias, understandably, is having a heartburn.

A fitness consultant has informed the local court that Cheryl Ankrah is not fit enough to appear for the Miss Universe 2005 competition. They fear that she will not even figure in the Top 30 at the Bangkok event. The affidavit said that Ankrah did not have the body of someone who could successfully compete internationally.

Peter Elias, who holds several beauty pageant franchises, had told her earlier that given the way she looked, he did not think she could not figure in the top 30 at the Miss Universe pageant.

Cheryl Ankrah has accepted the charge, but she has put the blame on Peter Elias himself, saying she did not get the correct guidance and goals from her management team and the pageant company.

Cheryl's attorney Gouveia produced in court emails showing that the tension started barely one month after Ankrah was crowned last year. According to the messages, Elias started complaining that he was not informed about Ankrah's fitness level regularly and that she had been skipping several training sessions and company appointments.

Despite efforts to get a clear outline of Elias' expectations and what goals she had to meet, nothing was supplied to her, Cheryl's attorney claimed.

Instead, Gouveia said, Elias told Ankrah in September 2004 that he was concentrating his efforts on preparing another queen for the Miss World Pageant in November and that he would start the "Cheryl campaign" after that.

Elias sent a series of complaints that her "development was not up to mark", and Ankrah's response was that she was doing the best she could.

On December 22, 2004, Elias and a director of his company Adrian Raymond, served her with a letter informing her that they were considering dethroning her for several reasons, including her fitness level, failure to attend classes, failure to report to them weekly, and a poor attitude to training.

Ankrah claimes she has a right not to be deprived of the opportunity of representing the country. "The court must decide whether a greater injustice would befall the plaintiff (Ankrah) by discharging the injunction (preventing Elias from choosing a replacement queen) or to the defendant," she told the court.

The matter is still in court. And time is running out for Ankrah, Peter Elias -- and if he wins the case -- the next T&T beauty who will be going to Bangkok. Watch this space.


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