Miss Pacific Islands denies Deputy PM made racist remarks; says they came from VIP area

Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika was not the person who made racist remark at the Heilala Festival’ crowning evening, according to Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha.

She said the allegations were untrue.

“Much has been said over the past few days with regard to my alleged treatment in Tonga,” Kariha said.

”There was no comment made by the Deputy Prime Minister.”

She confirmed that a comment had been made by a person in the VIP area.

“That is something that is never nice to hear, but [it was] said by one individual.”

She said the PNG delegation had been treated with dignity and respect while in Tonga.

Yesterday Papua New Guinea’s leading daily newspaper, the Post-Courier, ran a story claiming “a prominent Tongan legislator” had called Kariha “black, ugly and disgusting.”

The Post-Courier story online does not name Sika as the person responsible.

The Heilala organising committee issued a statement saying that claims the remarks had been made by the Deputy Prime Minister were not true.

“The Deputy Prime Minister is deeply disturbed by these accusations,” the committee said.

“The Deputy Prime Minister is grateful for the attendance of Ms Kariha.”

The main points

  • Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika was not the person who made racist remark at the Heilala Festival’ crowning evening, according to Miss Pacific Islands Ms Leoshina Kariha.
  • But she confirmed that a comment had been made by a person in the VIP area.

For more information

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Miss PNG sets record straight

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