Antonia Singut recently represented Papua New Guinea at the Miss South Pacific pageant in Suva, Fiji.
The PNG community in Suva made themselves available to assist Ms Singut where they could, but were often dismayed with the disjointed and uncoordinated efforts of the organisers in managing the efforts of all parties.
Despite this, Ms Singut did a fabulous job in promoting PNG and she must be commended.
Nevertheless, the whole event raises some questions in the future about whose role it is to manage Miss PNG in the international arena after she is crowned.
It seems that the PNG Red Cross is not interested in bringing Ms Singut to Suva this year as the event is outside PNG, and hence, its jurisdiction.
This seems to be a convenient policy direction by the PNG Red Cross as it allows the organisation to maximise the fundraising benefits through the Miss PNG Quest without the administrative baggage of managing Miss PNG during her reign.
However, if the PNG Red Cross is unwilling to promote and support Miss PNG internationally after she is crowned, then perhaps the PNG Red Cross should not be crowning her as Miss PNG in the first place.
This policy direction of the PNG Red Cross is a direct deterrent to future Miss PNG winners who have the potential and the desire to compete in international pageants such as Miss South Pacific during their reign, and promote our culture in the process.
I cannot see our Miss PNG winners ever hoping to replicate Eva Arni’s achievement of winning an international pageant, by winning the Miss Asia Pacific International crown in 1975, without the support of the entity that initially crowned them as Miss PNG.
Perhaps it is time for a change.
Perhaps the intellectual property associated with Miss PNG should be vested in a commercial or Government entity that not only manages the domestic competition to crown Miss PNG, but can also take Miss PNG to international events after her crowning.
This is the only way we can ever hope of winning a Miss Universe or Miss World title.