Fri | Dec 15, 2017

Kelly's World | Hush yah, Shaneke, such is life

Published:Monday | August 21, 2017 | 12:09 AM
Shaneke Williams

Years ago, I wrote in one of my columns that I didn't like beauty pageants.

From what I recall I didn't say I hated the fact that pageants are an avenue for bright young women to express themselves and to gain exposure.

What I didn't, and still don't like, is the format with the (maybe) boring performances from ‘entertainers’ we don't really want to see, and the (usually) corny jokes from the male MC who thinks he's Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt and Chris Hemsworth all in one.

But at the very core of it, I don't mind beauty pageants. 

The whole furore over Shaneke Williams and the Miss Jamaica World (MJW) pageant however, just kinda dampens them for me now though.

This young woman has been given the boot because she was named in a sexual offence case for which she has done no prison time.

I do understand why the MJW franchise holders made their decision though. Some people say there is no such thing as bad publicity. I disagree. This was very bad publicity.

But what is Williams, and anyone else who was accused of a crime but never convicted, supposed to do?

Become a hermit perhaps? Go into isolation in some backwoods part of the Earth and live out the rest of their days?

Now I know how Jamaicans think. They're going to ask me what if it was my daughter who was involved in whatever alleged incident took place.

What I can tell you is, if it was my daughter and something did happen to her, that case would have gone a hell of a lot farther than it did.

My point is merely that none of us know what took place for certain. So we have to give Shaneke and any other person in her position the benefit of the doubt. 

I know I would want that courtesy of innocent until proven guilty. How about you?

Like I said, I understand MJW's position. But what if Shaneke wants to interview for a job in corporate Jamaica and those people take the same view?

What if the young woman can't get a loan from the bank or stuff like that?

When do we consider that she has 'done her time'? And that’s an interesting phrase considering she never did any actual time stemming from the charge.

By the way, if you don't have even a minor infraction on your record, people are still going to assume you just haven't been caught yet.

So damned if you do, damned if you don't and damned if they think what you might have done, even if you actually did or didn’t.

So what's the solution? MJW said they don’t have an investigative arm to vet every contestant. They might have one now.

Can you imagine how some prospective candidates a go sweat and fret yah now?

And mind you, the ‘issue’ might not be a criminal one (whether accusation or actual conviction).

But with organisers having their brand to protect, I wouldn’t be surprised if more young women get turned back.

It’s the world we live in. Hush yah Shaneke. Such is life.

- Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com