On the 7th of October 2017,the grand finale of the miss Ghana 60 years on pageant was organized and I(Margaret Mwintuur Dery) was crowned as the ultimate winner. During the grooming period it took weeks of training for long hours and spending money on various items.We were told by the organizers to put in as much as we could since in the end we would reap the benefits of the labor but that was just one of their favorite lies they had repeated just to make us feel there was light at the end of the tunnel, but trust me, this tunnel is never ending and there is certainly no light at the end of it.
It all began with the signing of the contract on. I vividly remember that myself and some of the other girls asked to call our parents or at least seek legal counsel, we were then 20,since we had been picked out of the top 60 but we were told by one of the team members(Kadijah Patty) that if we did not want to sign the contract we should get up and leave because there were other girls who were willing to come and take our places. After struggling to make it to even that stage, who would not want to quickly sign and move on even if they did not fully understand what had been scripted down in that contract. On that same day, we were told we assemble in the reception area of the office since Inna Patty wanted to meet us. I realized that even before she came, everyone was running in order to impress her.
“The Alpha and Omega” as they addressed her as they said what she said was always final and that no one had the guts to speak back to her even if she was wrong. She sat with us and introduced herself as Inna Patty, THE CEO of Exclusive Events Ghana and the organizer of the miss Ghana pageant.
She asked if we had gone through the contract and had signed and we said yes in unison. She went through some of the parts of the contract with us but not the rest because she claimed that those parts were similar to what had already been gone through.
The problems started from the camping period but we never spoke about them because the one or two times that we did we were assured that things would get better but to this day nothing has gotten better.
The schedule was usually gym, rehearsals and then back home. I would leave home as early as 5;30 am to get to the gym at 6;00am, the sessions there were usually for about an hour and then off to the rehearsal grounds. Rehearsals would usually end around 11pm and then we would have to find our way back home and pay with our own monies when all this while we were supposed to be camped in a place so that right after rehearsals we would all move together for safety purposes, but that was the opposite of it. We were only camped a week or less to the grand finale.
Right after the grand finale, even a car to take the winner and runner ups back to the hotel was an issues. We were all squeezed in the smallish car of one Archibald Acquae (Mr.Ghana) and taken back to the hotel and when I asked him where the prize car was and why it had not been displayed for everyone to see as is normal with all beauty pageants, he had no proper answer to give me. I kept asking about the prize car day in and out but I was never given any proper answers, on some occasions, I was told by some members of the Miss Ghana team that the car was now being shipped from one country to Ghana and that they couldn’t find that particular color (white)of the car in Ghana.
I was required to go to the miss Ghana office everyday even on Saturdays when my presence was required and how I got there or got back home was none of their business, whilst other pageant queens were cruising around in their prize cars, I was busily entering either trotros or ubers to reach my destination. Even on days where we were required to meet at programs, we would be made to find our ways to spintex and then all be taken from there so as not to raise any supisions. All this while, I was on a “salary” of 500 cedis (the prize money) which I was supposed to use to take care of my transportation and other needs. Imagine going in and out of spintex from cantonments every day for one week, that would cost about 105 cedes not to talk about going there every day for one month. The pressure from friends and family concerning the whereabouts of the car became intense.
The very first time I had seen the monster in Inna Patty was when she called me to her office one evening and said she had seen on social media and had heard that a lot of people were asking about the car and she suspected I was behind it, she raised her voice the whole time saying that if myself or anyone dared her she was going to sue and that she doesn’t owe anyone a car, she also stated that its out of the goodness of her heart that she’s thinking of providing the cars and if she doesn’t no one can hold her responsible because for that year she was only advertising a role and not prizes. She included that if in future she sees any of my friends or family posting about the car on social media she was going to use the person as a scape goat to teach the others a lesson.
Out of fear I didn’t mention it to anyone but just to save myself and others, when anyone asked of the car I would just reply by saying its coming even though I was always ignored in the office or told I was disturbing every time I asked about it. I was called to the office by Inna one day and told that because the car was not in yet she would want to give me one of the old cars in the office to be using, but there was a catch, I was to get a guarantor to sign that should damage occur to the vehicle during my use, they are prepared to take full responsibility for all liabilities, cost of repairs or replacement, and persons are to have a minimum of 20 years working experience. Knowing who Inna patty is, she was just trying to be sly as always, first of all, everyone in that office knew the car had issues and if for instance I had started using it and after a week or two it would develop faults, that would be my guarantor’s problem and not hers and she will just get more time to give more stories about the car she was to give to me. More staling tactics included asking me to get a driver that had 10 years experience which she had no intention of paying, asking for a copy of my driver’s license which lay in her office for months and continuously urging me to take the old car which I continuously refused to take.
The car was finally given to me on 22/03/18 but as usual inna Patty gave me only one key, saying that she still has some things to sort out with the people who sponsored the car so they have not given her all the keys and as soon as she gets the keys she will give them to me but to this day she’s not said anything about it.
With regards to my CSR project, before being picked as part of the top 20 contestants, you are to work on a project to help them pick miss “beauty with a purpose”. My project was based on women empowerment with regards to land rights in the Upper West region. I felt that after winning the crown, the platform would be used to expand the project and bring more light to it especially considering the fact that it was in the Upper West region but after reminding Inna and her team constantly about my project and my willingness to go back and expand on it, I was told that Innas foundation already has uncompleted projects by past Queens and needed to be completed by me who was the current queen.
I asked them so what then happens to mine and I was told that only when I would be able to finish theirs then I could do the project of my choice. I have only a year to reign and they had projects which needed serous funding and all these were left on my shoulders as the runner ups weren’t as bothered as I was. For example project to raise $15,000 was given to myself and my runner ups to work on. Where was I or the other two supposed to raise this kind of money from? Raising the first $5000, which I raised about a $1000 of was not easy and Inna kept making it look like a challenge between the three of us. At the end of the day, I ended up raising the most of the first $5000. After that everything was left for me to do, that is raising the rest of the $10,000.
I moved from one office to the other and one individual to the other, some were kind enough to give, others either slammed the door in my face or made empty promises but the most prominent reason from most people for not wanting to give money was the fear of Inna Patty spending it, even people she directed me to go to claiming they were her “good friends” would give such reasons saying they didn’t trust her because of her love dor money and stories for past Queens complaining about her attitude of embezzling funds.
With all these, I was still able to raise an amount of $4,074.11 which I handed over to her and have to receipts to prove and and I raised an additional $5000 from various individuals and companies, therefore an amount of $9074.11 has been raised by me and it remains an amount of $925.89 which I’m working tirelessly every day to raise but not that she or anyone in her company cares after all she makes it look to people as if she’s the one paying for the surgery when the only thing she dies is to stand for pictures when its time to make the donation. Inna Patty doesn’t really care about how the money is raised, so long as it comes in and makes her foundation look good she’s fine with that.
Another event that was held to help raise funds for the scoliosis project was the kiddie bazaar where myself and the other two ladies were to look for sponsors to provide in cash or kind to help make the program a success,Kasapreko company ltd was one I helped get on board to help provide water and drinks to help cater for the invited orphanages and yummy noodles as well.
The blood drive was also a project I worked on by acquiring food and drinks for all donors to help raise awareness on the importance of blood donations. I have also been present to give speeches at various events such as the launch of the Crystal capital initiative at Lancaster university and also the GNUTS annual conference. I have gone for programs ranging from going for dinners to funerals of people who I do not even know. None of these efforts were ever appreciated. In the beginning, when we were usually taken for programs and people gave us business cards, they would either take the business cards from us on the spot or demand that we bring them to the office.
A recent event I expressed interest in going for was the VGMA where because of an incident between she and I she made the bearer of the tickets hide them from me and only made him inform me about them when it was too late for me to go, but fortunately I managed to acquire tickets from an aunt of mine and therefore did not see it as necessary to go with my sash and crown since Inna and her people had hidden tickets given by the organizer of the show for Miss Ghana.
My most recent issue with her was from a birthday photoshoot which she claims I used a competing modelling agency for which I have explained to her time without number that they are not and that it was a group of friends who rallied together to help me make my birthday shoot a success. If indeed it was a competing modelling agency, why then didn’t they demand for payment. Inna Patty has also accused me time without number about being in contact with various bloggers to make her look bad which I do not appreciate because it is untrue.
With regards to the fabrics she’s supposed to provide, she demands that we appear for all occasions wearing only ATL which is supposed to be the sponsor for Miss Ghana and her runner ups, but the fabric they provide, or at least what she says they provide is so scanty that after they give us two and three yards of the fabric and then expect us to use magic to come out with elegant outfits. These ATL fabrics are to be given to me every month but since I have only received these fabrics twice, once last year and once at the beginning of 2018. A lady paid 500 cedes a month should not be expected to use it to buy ATL fabrics which are supposed to be sponsored .
According to the Miss Ghana contract, Inna Patty is supposed to house the winner and her runner ups for a year, but since I won, nothing has been said of the house or even plans of it, she only keeps saying they’re still putting up the foundation.
With regards to representing the country at this year’s Miss World competition, I have been told by Inna Patty to start raising money towards it since it is not cheap, approach various sponsors and start training. She tends to threaten me with not going for the world competition every time she asks me to do something and I don’t, she tends to say she will tell the organizers of Miss World that she has crowned me and I do not cooperate with her.
With regards to passport issues, after my runner ups and I returned from Hungary on 28th Nov 2017, Inna Patty asked us to leave our passports with her for no reason, I asked her later and she said it was for travel opportunities, she did not hand over the passports until my parents and the parents of the runner ups put some pressure on her.
There have been various times when I receive invitations by certain NGO’s to partake in their programs and for one reason or another she makes it difficult for them to meet with her or even for me to work with them even after I express interest. One of such is the Eco school project I kept pushing but she kept ignoring.
She goes round spoiling my name to so many people and pretending she’s the victim of the whole situation. Also, she and her team never stick to their side of an agreement whenever one is made between another individual or group of individuals and themselves. On 18th April 2018, Chief Hafiz called a meeting between she and myself, it was agreed that it would only be between the three of us (Myself, Inna and Chief) but she invited two more people (Senam Penu and Audrey) which left me outnumbered.
After several arguments at the meeting we agreed to let bygones be bygones but the 24th April, I received an email from the “contestants manager” demanding for an apology letter for issues raised by them that I had not done and also for me to sign a bond of good behavior. After receiving this letter, I was truly shocked and so was chief Hafiz because that was not what we had all agreed on.
These are just some of the issues of concern I can remember.
Credit: Chris Vincent /GhanaCelebrities.com