Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pregnant Miss Jamaica forced to give up title

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Miss Jamaica has surrendered her crown because she is pregnant, a pageant official said Thursday.

Sara Lawrence, a 22-year-old single medical student from the capital of Kingston, lost the title seven months after she was selected to represent Jamaica at the Miss World 2006 contest in Poland -- where she placed sixth.

In a statement, pageant organizers said Lawrence had violated pageant rules with her pregnancy.

"Her actions could potentially harm the tradition that is the Miss Jamaica World pageant and its past and future winners," said promoter Mickey Haughton-James.

Haughton-James said it was the first time in the Jamaican contest's 23-year history that a winner was dethroned because she was pregnant.

Lawrence, who said she was expecting her first child in September, said it had been an honor to represent her native land.

"I crave the understanding of my many supporters at home and abroad and hope that people everywhere who have shown me such kindness and love will respect my position," she said.
Pageant organizers did not say if the runner-up would complete Lawrence's reign, which was due to end in August.

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