We’ve been telling you about the local beauty pageant scandal for almost a year now.
The Miss Universe/Guyana beauty pageant was held at York College in Jamaica Queens. The pageant’s owner/director was Jyoti Hardat. We had several people come to us questioning whether the pageant was on the level.
A runner-up, Sharisse Victor was the first to bring it to our attention. We spoke with two other contestants and an assistant to Ms. Hardat who all raised similar issues.
Delroy Wolcott says he considered Jyoti a friend. He worked for her for several years. And says it was his job to deliver the judge’s scoring results to the MC. He says Sharisse was ahead on the judge’s tallies. But Jyoti got a different result to the MC so that her favorite would win.
Delroy Wolcott: “One thing that I noticed was favoritism within that…. that played a huge part. And it was almost. It was very visible.”
Howard: “Who was being favored?”
Delroy: “The queen. The reigning queen, Miss Rafieya Husain. She was being favored on almost every level. She had privileges that the other girls could not have had.” Things like a private hair stylist, for example.
Rafieya Husain was the 2016 runner-up. There’s no allegation she did anything wrong. But Jyoti Hardat allegedly wanted her to win. Delroy alleges Rafeiya Husain had pageant experience, she had sponsors and money people behind her. That means less pressure on Jyoti to raise money.
We asked the Miss Universe Organization about all this. The MUO said it stood behind the Miss Universe/Guyana pageant results. But apparently that’s not the case anymore.
After hearing the complaints from Delroy and others Jyoti either gave up her beloved operation or was forced out. We wanted to know what happened. But Jyoti Hardat did not respond to our phone message. And the Miss Universe Organization issued a statement that didn’t answer our direct questions, saying only ..."We currently do not have a licensee in Guyana, which is why the country will not be represented this year at the pageant."
As for the woman who was supposedly ahead in the 2017 pageant, Sharisse Victor says, “My initial point was to i guess warn people of her business policies…I guess it worked after all because she’s no longer there.”
So, Jyoti Hardat is out, Guyana will not be represented in the Miss Universe competition this year and Delroy Wolcott is hoping to lead the new ownership team that will take over the Guyanese pageant.
We spoke with him over the phone and set up an interview with him. But then he never showed up for the interview. Well, maybe he’ll run a pageant properly. We wish him well.