All set for Linden Town Week Pageant

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— with eight lovely, talented young ladies vying for top honours
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ALL is set for the Linden Town Week pageant billed for this weekend at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground and the promoters are very upbeat the lovely and talented young ladies participating will showcase the Linden mining town to the hilt during the pageant – a major highlight in a series of celebratory activities that coincide with the 40th anniversary of the township.

The eight young ladies from the mining town who are gearing to compete in the much anticipated pageant later this week, were slated to appear on stage last evening as part of the grand and colourful Linden Town Week opening ceremony.

The sashing ceremony for the delegates has already been completed and the Intelligence Segment will be held on Wednesday, according to Managing Director of ‘Picturethis Productions’ Mr. Leon Roberts.

Roberts told this newspaper that while ‘all is set’ in terms of the planning and organizing of the annual pageant, the delegates are ‘about 95  percent ready’ for the big occasion.

Those slated to compete are: Rushana Peters (delegate number 1) from Victory Valley; Stacia Whyte (delegate number 2) representing One Mile; Tandy Fortune (delegate number 3) representing Christianburg; Nikesha Telford (delegate number 4) representing Silvertown; Tashana Allicock (delegate number 5) representing Kara Kara; Amy Roberts (delegate number 6) representing Wismar Flats; Shevon Gilbert (delegate number 7) representing Central Mackenzie; Jenelle Babb (delegate number 8) representing Retrieve.

Roberts said six of the delegates have already been fully sponsored while the other two delegates are in the process of completing their individual sponsorship.

He said the two individuals have been given half of the sponsorship by committed businesses and anyone willing to partner with those businesses would have to put up another $50,000 to complete the sponsorship.

So far, these delegates — who will each be representing eight wards in Linden — have made at least three public appearances to get them ‘accustomed’ for the public event.

Last Saturday, the girls were taken around and introduced to the various Linden wards that they will be representing. Roberts said this will allow each delegate to better represent that particular area, enabling them to “talk, discuss and impress upon persons the potential issues affecting that community and possible solutions”.

The girls also visited BOSAI’s Linden bauxite operations. This was an effort to get the delegates to have a better understanding of the bauxite industry and its crucial importance to the Linden economy, Roberts said.

And speaking on what new initiatives one can look forward to during this year’s pageant, Roberts said: “Every year we have tried to set a different mode for each of the segments. On ‘Pageant night’ we will have five distinct segments. You have an introductory dance, the casual wear talent, swim wear and evening wear. This will be followed by the selection of the final five and the final question.”

He furthered stated: “What we have tried to do is to build an atmosphere on stage which indicates the mood for the particular segment. For example, this year the delegates are expected to — in the casual wear segment — display clothing that they would wear to go partying (disco night); that is the theme…and so on stage we are going to create a disco-type atmosphere.”

Additionally, the head of the promotion group said the delegates have done “pre-recorded introductions”.

So instead of being announced on stage, those pre-recorded segments will be played/shown on three large screens – one of which will be set as the entire stage backdrop – when the delegates make their introductory stage appearance, Roberts said.

A point of interest, he said, is the fact that there is – for the first time — a separate ‘special award’ that goes to the ‘best designer’, and not to the delegate.

“This means the designer that is adjudged to have produced the best design in the evening wear segment will get that award directly,” Roberts said, adding that this is part of a committed effort to push the talent of designers in Linden because all of the delegates are required to wear designs produced by Lindeners.

This year, he also quipped, one of the delegates will be wearing the designs of a Lindener who is now based in the United States of America, Cutty’s Fashion of New York. View models profile

Shot CLICO probe manager has not quit
— Office of Commissioner of Insurance
THE Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) yesterday said a claim by the Kaieteur News newspaper that Commissioner of Insurance Maria van Beek has quit as Judicial Manager of CLICO (Guyana) because she was shot is false.

In a press release issued through the Government Information Agency (GINA), the office expressed surprise and concern about the article headed ‘Maria van Beek quits’ on page one of the newspaper’s Saturday edition.

It said the newspaper falsely reported that Mrs. van Beek, 36, was stepping down from her position as Commissioner of Insurance and Judicial Manager of CLICO (Guyana) due to concerns for her safety.

The OCI said van Beek never indicated to the reporter “or for that matter anyone that she has plans to resign and affirms that there is no truth whatsoever to this claim as purported in the newspaper article.”

“Mrs. van Beek is at this time on leave for medical reasons. She nevertheless remains the Commissioner of Insurance and Judicial Manager of CLICO (Guyana)”, it reiterated.

The OCI dubbed the Kaieteur News reporting “false, misleading and irresponsible” adding that it failed to meet the high media standards expected of a national daily newspaper.

It called on the newspaper to publish a correction that is “accurate, fair and balanced in as prominent a place as the previous misleading statement.”

van Beek is recuperating after she was shot in the chest on April 16 while on her way to work.

Reports said she was in a long line of traffic at the junction of Lombard and Leopold streets during a heavy downpour when a gunman walked up to her vehicle and fired a shot through the driver’s side window.

He fled on a waiting motorcycle parked on Leopold Street and police are still investigating.

van Beek has been Commissioner of Insurance since 2002 and was appointed Judicial Manager of the troubled CLICO on February 25 to conduct a financial investigation of the company.

Two days before the shooting, she had presented a report to the High Court which indicated that in the worst case scenario of liquidation, the liabilities of CLICO (Guyana) will exceed its assets by G$11.9 billion.

She was asked by Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang to provide additional information on CLICO’s statutory fund. This would include information on all lines of business that CLICO (Guyana) conducts, which relate to the various categories of insurance such as accident, fire and motor.

On Friday, Justice Chang granted van Beek more time to complete this report after her attorney Ashton Chase, S.C., said the Judicial Manager had been unable to comply with the request because of the shooting incident.

CLICO Guyana is the local arm of the Trinidad-based CL Financial Group, a major Caribbean company crippled by the global financial crisis.

The Guyana Government deplored the shooting saying it was “incomprehensible that any sane mind would stoop to such an act that would seem to have an intention of frustrating the work she is doing as the Commissioner of Insurance.”

President Bharrat Jagdeo has said the government will protect the investments of policyholders of the company who include those with pension funds and fire, life and health insurance.

CLICO Guyana is trying to recover about US$34M invested with CLICO Bahamas which has also been hit by the global financial crisis.

Mr. Jagdeo had also warned that if the probe by van Beek unearthed any evidence of possible fraud or insider trading, those responsible will be prosecuted.