Stolen Productions Limited (SPL), the pageant franchise holder for Miss Grand International, has distanced itself from allegations made by Mileidy Materano, who announced on Wednesday that she was giving up her crown due to sponsorship issues.
Speaking with Guardian Media on Thursday morning, SPLs head of marketing and public relations Kerry Goberdhan said the company is sponsoring the delegates. First runner-up Rebekah Hislop will now be traveling to Vietnam next month to represent T&T as the crown is now passed to her.
"Our attorneys are preparing a statement on what was said. The accusations they were making were inaccurate. The new delegate—Rebekah… The company will be sponsoring her trip, her tickets and accommodation, which in fact are already paid for. The only thing we were seeking sponsorship for was the airline ticket. Everything else for the delegate—in terms of accommodation, food—those things are already paid for, so the claims they are making are very inaccurate," Goberdhan said.
Venezuelan born Mileidy Materano, who was crowned Miss Grand International T&T a few weeks ago and scheduled to represent T&T next month in Vietnam for Miss Grand International, has stepped down.
Guardian Media understands Materano’s stepping down was decided following new developments earlier this week pertaining to sponsorship, and not because of the public outrage expressed by T&T citizens over her eligibility in adequately representing T&T, given the fact that she is not a citizen of this country.
Miss Grand International Trinidad and Tobago winner Mileidy Materano, sits next to her Attorney, Wayne Sturge, during a press conference at Regius Chambers, Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday 27 September 2023.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by her battery of attorneys—Lemuel Murphy, Tamara Gregorio and lead attorney Wayne Sturge at his Regius Chambers office, Richmond Street in Port of Spain.
Sturge disclosed that Materano's manager, Charisse Parsons, was informed by the pageant company Stolen Productions Limited via a WhatsApp message on her (Parsons’) cell phone.
“They said that for Mileidy's reign to continue she had to fund on her own the trip to the Vietnam pageant as well as other incidentals, and failure to do so would result in her reign being terminated and her crown being passed to the first runner up," Sturge revealed during the press conference on Wednesday, September 27.
"In the circumstances, Mileidy has decided that she will formally step down,” Sturge confirmed. “She wishes to assure that her decision was in no way influenced by any other considerations. Mileidy wishes to indicate that had it not been for this latest development she stood ready to continue her reign.”
“Mileidy wishes the public and well-wishers to understand that her decision was made with a very heavy heart. She wishes to add that had she been advised of this in advance, she would not have taken part in the local pageant," Sturge added.
Asked if the issue of sponsorship was not made clear before to Materano when she first entered the local competition, Sturge said:
"In essence, what was communicated to her management before, as we are instructed, was that the promised sponsorship… and I don't want to say ‘off the table’… But it wasn't made in very clear terms that she, Miss Materano, was responsible for her own sponsorship."
Asked how much money it would have cost Materano to go to Vietnam, Guardian Media was told approximately $60,000.
The out-of-pocket money expenses from the time she entered the competition to the time she stepped down are yet to be calculated and will be disclosed in the public domain, her attorneys confirmed.
Mileidy Materano has been resident in Trinidad and Tobago for the past seven years.
When asked whether she has applied for citizenship and her work permit, Materano's attorneys said she had.