MEMBERS of the public in Labasa have questioned the selection criteria that led to the crowning of the Miss Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North.
Disappointment was obvious among the crowd that witnessed the crowning as remarks such as "biased judging" and "oh no" were directed towards the panel of judges as their decision was announced.
The Saturday night crowning prompted calls from the public for the carnival committee to hire judges who have knowledge of pageant competitions.
Vunivau resident Chandra Narayan said the carnival committee needed to hold a final public judging between the top five contestants before the crowning to determine a winner.
"That is how it is done in the Hibiscus Carnival and I do not see why we cannot do it here," she said.
Responding to the reactions, festival chairman Vincent Sahayam said the committee had nothing to do with the judging of contestants and it lay solely on the judging panel.
Mr Sahayam said the selection criteria for the judges was transparent and they were apt to sit as judges.
"We will also sit again with the committee to discuss other issues that were raised by members of the public," he said.
Meanwhile, judging panel chief Fazia Kumar said contestants were not solely judged on public speaking but there were other criteria such as the private judging, talent night and other nights which allocated marks for these contestants.
Ms Kumar said the contestant with the most points was considered the winner and Labasa had viewed the contestants' performances during the past week.
"We only judge the night performances of contestants and no judging takes place in the daytime to monitor contestants' attendance during day tours," she said.