The fiasco over Torika Watter's unpopular win followed by the revelation of a judge they were pressured into naming her the winner by the pageant organiser, Andhy Blake, has made worldwide headlines, including the Washington Post and E News.
Watters has been pulled from the competition and runner up Konini Vakalomaloma will instead represent Fiji in Mongolia next month.
Morley says she wants to work with a 'specially selected team', including this year's Miss World Fiji pageant director, Andhy Blake, to what find what she says is solutions for future Fiji pageants.
She says Blake's 'heart is in the right place but with all the negativity and anger toward him, (it) has, in my opinion, overwhelmed him.'
The criticism have increased in the past week with the revelations of judge Hupfeld Hoeder and Torika Watters herself who said in a statement Blake knew she was 16 but had told not to worry because he had waived the conditions for her.
In a post on the Miss World Fiji website, Blake agrees he preselected Watters as a semifinalist and gave the judges his personal opinion that she should win, but denied that made the event a sham.
Blake's full statement:
It is with a heavy heart, I write this statement – why? Because for a country that I love, people that I call my own, culture and traditions that I am proud of and a society that stores fond memories have become all but a hunting ground these past few days. International Media labeling my home, my own people as ‘racists’, innocent lives of young beautiful women invaded for their privacy, hopes of young women diminished and most importantly, the dignity of our people ridiculed.
This journey of what I had set out on to Fiji 12 years after I had departed her shores is a gift for our vanua, people, pride and culture. A gift to empower young women, youths, advocate for a charitable cause and above all – a chance for Fiji to shine on a greater platform, one that is second to the summer Olympic Games, one that is unique in its own self.
Fiji has taken a beating – a very harsh beating. We are being labeled as racists’, I am being called a ‘scam artist’ and the life of an innocent, young and beautiful woman – Torika Watters making headlines in almost every newspaper across the world, for the wrong reasons.
Miss World Fiji 2012 has been the talk of many newsrooms throughout the world, around the ‘kava’ bowls and in society and work places. They do say, any publicity is good publicity but I challenge that! When you work so hard to build something to give back to and make our country proud only to come against the many that try to paint a negative image, the first instance is to run – run back to where it is I came from.
But I am not that person, I came to Fiji to do something great for our people and I am going to see this through till the end. Yes, there are so many questions asked about Miss World Fiji, Yes there are so many allegations surrounding the selection criteria, Yes there are tongues wagging about our event being a scam, Yes there is always going to be someone that is always unhappy.
To settle these issues – No, had this event been a scam or media stunt, I firmly believe that this gift would have been taken away from me. I came to Fiji in the faith instilled in me from God to carry out the calling on my life now and had I done anything with intentions other than that, I would have been exposed and my project halted.
Yes a 16 year old was allowed into the competition and Yes I should have checked her eligibility – An honest mistake I take full responsibility of but without making these mistakes, how else can we learn and grow from them? Torika Watters is a genuine soul, beautiful young women and a loving family – No she was not bribed into this competition, No she was not called up in Sydney via telephone to head to Fiji and No, the competition was not rigged in her favor.
Yes I selected her as a semi finalist, Yes I gave my opinions to the judges of who I saw fitting for the title but No, I never juggled the results to allow this young woman to win. Torika Watters was selected because she impressed the International Judges with her charm, personality, grace, maturity and above anything else, she had a genuine and powerful story – one that I still believe will impact the world.
Too many ‘hear-say’ are influencing the many in our own societies and our own Media are responsible for the ‘rubble’ they allow to publish – basing them on anything other than ‘ACTUAL FACTS’.
As the National Director for Miss World for Fiji – I am calling for all this ‘babbling’ to stop. Too many innocent individuals have suffered as it is – Yes I am also one of them. When are we prepared to stop? Who will be held responsible if the outcomes of anymore of this fabricated rumors end in something tragic?
We have over a month to prepare our Ambassador to Miss World – Koini Vakaloloma. I ask you to please honor her privacy, my privacy, our culture, our pride and traditions and end all this rumors that Media allow to print. Miss Fiji is not representing just herself but is carrying the pride and hopes of us all as proud Fijians.
In 2013, Torika Watters will be given the opportunity to represent us should she choose to accept this challenge. Yes I have announced that she had to relinquish the title, but No I do not feel she was given a fair chance in fact influenced by other parties to make an earlier statement thinking otherwise of the pageant.
We all make mistakes – Because we are humans, It is how we turn them around to make a difference, impact society and that is what is needed to cope for our Beauty with a Purpose campaign on Mental Health.
Miss World Fiji – the start of something great, support us and encourage our young women to be apart of this amazing platform in 2013. We each have a responsibility to play, bring honor to our country and change the views of how the outside world view us. I am making this change now – I hope you accept my invitation and stand with me.
Vinaka Vakalevu and God Bless.
Miss World Fiji 2012