Miss Universe Org Pulls Crown from Dominican Republic

Sorry, Dominican Republic. Miss Universe won’t be heading your way.

Pageant officials are pulling plans to hold Miss Universe in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic three months before the mega event. Being a host to the pageant is a big plug for the country and a public relations dream.

But two weeks after the Caribbean country said it could not provide financial assistance to Miss Universe contest organizers, the organization said it was moving this year’s contest to Las Vegas.

Miss Universe organization president Paula Shugart told The Associated Press that too many obstacles have arisen for holding the event in the Dominican Republic’s popular tourist city of Punta Cana. Shugart says the main obstacle is the Caribbean country’s financial crisis.

Two weeks ago, Dominican Republic’s Presidential Administrative Minister Jose Ramon Peralta told organizations of the pageant that it did not have the $6 million that organizers had requested. He suggested they could seek help from the private sector.

Shugart says the event would have attracted many tourists to the Dominican Republic, noting that is a priority of newly elected President Danilo Medina.

The Miss Universe Pageant will air Dec. 11. The pageant, which moves to different countries every year, was held in Vegas in 2010, when Mexican Jimena Navarrete won the title. The last time it was in the Dominican Republic was in 1977, when Miss Trinidad won the title.

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