Linden pageant scandalIn light of recent allegations of sexual assault against delegates of the Miss Linden Town Week (LTW) pageant by a Linden businessman, former Mayor of Linden Carwyn Holland is calling on the municipality of the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) to cancel this year’s pageant. He said the delegates should be crowned as municipal ambassadors, whereby they would become a part of the development process of Linden and spread positive messages to young girls.Former Mayor of Linden Carwyn HollandIn a statement issued on Tuesday, Holland said this should be done on the heels of the observance of an International Women’s Day observance which was staged in Linden recently, where a call was made for society to “guard our girls”.“These revelations are deeply troubling. So, I commend the young ladies’ courage and believe that they should be hailed as ambassadors for our municipality, championing the call for young women to resist the pressure to be demoralised and abused by some in our society. And I believe their courage to speak out, goes well in strengthening others to speak out in spite of threats or the rhetorical silencing that often follows these incidents,” Holland said.He added that though he was not apprised of the scandal before it became public, he finds it imperative that law enforcement conduct a thorough investigation of the matter so that justice is served.“We all have a responsibility to instil wholesome values in the next generation of young men and women and should not chastise or silence them when they uphold such values. This should be commended…,” Holland indicated.Meanwhile, pageant coordinator Crystal Lam has called for the pageant to continue, amidst calls for it to be cancelled. “We have to start somewhere, and the solution cannot be to end all pageants… Over the past few months I have come to know a group of young women who are very passionate about empowering, leading and making positive changes in society… We have to start somewhere. We have to come up with more creative ways in finding solutions.”Lam added that at a meeting on Monday, the delegates indicated that they no longer care about the prizes.“They suggested that should they continue, their platforms must change. Though a ‘greener economy’ is a worthy platform; they all have social ills they are passionate about, and they want to be able to represent and bring awareness to these issues. In my opinion, the pageant should go on. Give these women a chance to be role models in society. Give them a chance to change society’s misconception of pageantry. Our women must not feel like selling one’s self to potential sponsors is an undeniable part of pageantry,” she said.The allegation of the sexual assault went viral on social media after a post that a businessman from Amelia’s Ward, Linden had made sexual advances towards the delegates when they were at his premises to seek sponsorship during March 2018. The post alleges that the LM&TC tried to cover up the matter and officials tried to silence the victims.But the LMTC has said that aiding or abetting any activity and behaviour that is demeaning to women or any other individual or group of individuals is incompatible with its ideals. As such, given the sensitive nature of the case, the LM&TC conducted an independent investigation into the incident.The investigation found irrefutable evidence that an incident occurred on March 3, 2018, and the said matter was settled between the parties involved on March 6, 2018.Meanwhile, the Alliance For Change (AFC) said in a statement on Monday that it is aware of a social media post regarding an alleged incident which took place in Linden.The party also admitted that the incident involved a member of the AFC’s Region 10 Regional Management Committee.Based on some sources, the AFC member was one of the persons who accompanied the victim to the businessman’s premises to seek sponsorship, which led to her allegedly being assaulted.