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Concerned and proud Virgin Islanders of the territory of the United States Virgin Islands respectfully ask that the government of the United States Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism issue a public announcement removing the territory and use of the official flag of the USVI from the 2019 Miss Universe Competition. We also request that the legal entities that have jurisdictional oversight of these islands on behalf of the Government investigate WME/IMG to ensure that they are doing business legally in the territory. Miss Universe USVI is an ambassador representing the USVI at a global competition and while this request may appear inconsequential, to have an individual who has no ties to the US Virgin Islands and whose vested interest in the competition was solely as a pathway to the Miss Universe competition, can result in bad press for the territory and can adversely impact the tourism industry. FACTS, Andrea Piecuch:

  • is not a Virgin Islander
  • is not a resident of the United States Virgin Islands
  • has no family ties to the United States Virgin Islands
  • has no vested, or philanthropic interest in the territory
  • does not know our culture, values, or traditions
  • was not born in the USVI

In light of all the media attention on the territory, post two category five hurricanes and delayed Federal funding, how can we allow this stranger to speak to National and Global Media on our behalf? How will the surfacing of this fraud potentially affect the credibility of the USVI and our tourism industry? What is the message that we are sending to not only the world, but to the diverse sects of young Virgin Island girls and women, residing in the territory, who aspire to proudly represent their beloved home before a National, or Global audience?

In January of 2019 Ms. Andrea Piecuch placed third runner up in the Miss Utah competition. By her own admission, she considers no one place home and have resided in the territory for “almost a year”.

I have called many places home. I’ve lived in 4 countries; France, Canada, the U.A.E, and the USA. In the USA I’ve lived in 5 states and one territory; Virginia, Utah, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, and the USVI. After residing in the USVI for almost a year and visiting since long before for work and family.

A recent report from the VI Consortium and an internet search revealed that:

At the heart of the chagrin was the fact that the Miss Universe U.S. Virgin Islands winner, Andrea Piecuch, who moved to St. Thomas a few months ago to meet the 6-month residency requirement of the competition, had no known ties to the territory. It was only January that Ms. Piecuch participated in the Miss Utah USA 2019, where she placed third. The year before, she participated in Miss Florida USA.

According to Lulu Orange Tyson, the local director of the competition, WME/IMG changed the rules so that any individual living in a certain region can compete in any of the region’s Miss Universe competitions — provided that the competitor meets the participation criteria, which includes six months of living in the jurisdiction where the competition is being held, or enrolling in this jurisdiction’s university.

These pageants bring in large sums of money for the franchise owners. If it is not already licensed, this franchise should be licensed in the USVI and the rules should be regulated, as well as any changes to the rules. The VI Department of Tourism should have an active role in evaluating the criteria for residency and there should be stronger vetting of candidates for this competition to prevent perceived “discriminatory practices” moving forward. As the appointed official for the Department of Tourism, we appeal to you to safeguard our Virgin Islands pride! If we stand for nothing, we will fall for everything!

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