Many can still remember her sterling performance back in 2007 that earned her the First Runner-up position in the annual St. Kitts & Nevis National Carnival Queen pageant, one that she narrowly lost by some 2.5 points.
Since then, this Kittitian beauty has wowed audiences across the Caribbean and worldwide, after competing in competitions such as Miss World, in Sanya, China, held in 2010, where she placed first in the Sport category and 11th in Talent overall, from 115 countries; Miss Jamzone International in Guyana, in 2011, where she placed Fourth Runner-up and also won various categories; Miss Caribbean Culture in 2008, in Nevis, where she placed Second Runner-up; and Miss Caribbean World, in 2008,held in Tortola, BVI, where she placed first in talent.
Her involvement in these pageants, especially Miss World, where few, (perhaps only one other Kittitian has gone), also brought much attention and exposure for St. Kitts & Nevis in the international media. She made her country proud in the way she represented the federation and her successes at the events.
Fatisha has generally been enjoying a very successful and rewarding life and is currently a student, studying Accounting at the Midwestern State University, in Texas, USA. Whenever she is at home on vacation, especially during carnival time in December and Culturama in Nevis, during the summer, one can sure to see her volunteering her services as a trainer of contestants, pageant judge or chaperon; or engaged in some activity that allows her to give back to the field that gave her so much.
However, Christmas 2011 is one that Fatisha would remember as a “nightmare experience” filled with the type of drama, usually reserved for the movies that one would see on the Lifetime Network. She admits it was a life-changing encounter that altered her outlook on life, friends, and family. She said it also taught her that celebrity status and fame come with a price and that the higher you climb the ladder of success, the more you become a target, for those who wish to harm your image, character and good name.
No wonder, she lives by the mantra:”You can’t get to the top, being like everyone else.”
Not only did she get a Christmas that is unbelievable, she also got a New Year’s greeting that no one would cherish.
On Wednesday 11th January, 2012, Fatisha walked out of the magistrate’s court in Basseterre, St. Kitts, a free woman, exonerated. She was cleared of all charges that had been brought against her for the larceny of a BlackBerry Phone (Curve), that her accuser, one Serene Weekes, had claimed was stolen during an altercation, at Peninsula Cove, in the Southeast Peninsular of St. Kitts, all the way back on 17th June, 2011.
When the matter actually came up for trial, on Wednesday 11th January, 2012, the case crumbled and the police withdrew the matter, without even starting the hearings.
According to police records, someone else, a young man was found with the same BlackBerry, arrested and charged by local police. A woman was also arrested and charged. Those matters are believed to be still pending.
Though exculpated from what she had always classified as false charges, Imo said that this is an ordeal that she wishes to speedily forget. However, given all the public debate and media bashing, she wanted to tell her story. She therefore contacted MiyVue.com to provide an exclusive interview, to talk about the torment she suffered.
“I am not doing this to embarrass anyone for their level of stupidity and childish behaviour, but to inform the public of the end result of the alleged charges. Many young people look up to me and the reason am doing this, is just to inform the public that all the charges were dropped against me and ….basically I wanted to do this mostly because of the articles that appeared in the media and all over the internet, and reached worldwide including my family and friends, as far as England, the United States. Even past competitors who I competed with in Miss World had emailed me and asked me about the incident…embarrassing yes. Others contacted me including members of the Jamzone Committee, and other people from the pageant world, including some of those events that I am scheduled to participate in overseas, such as Miss United Nations in June, because it’s all over the social media, especially Facebook.”
“So I wanted to clear my name and some of the topics I wanted to touch on were, How far people would go in trying to tarnish people’s name and character; I just wanted people who think about doing it, to stop and think about how it would hurt the person, their career and character…even though that is what they want…you know.”
“My decision to tell my story through MiyVue.com was to also help other persons who actually might go through this, or if it ever happened to them, how to go about it, in terms of being strong, having the right persons around you. Sometimes and in this situation, I definitely found out who my real friends are, and persons who I thought were not my friends, actually were the ones who were there for me. They kept telling me to rise above the situation, keep my head high and everything is going to work out,” said Imo.
When asked what she thought motivated the actions against her, Fatisha said, “To me, nothing could rule out this but obsession. I think it was a matter of obsession. I think she, (the lady who took her to court), is and has been obsessed with me for many years because her actions against me have not just started, they actually begun since I was in high school.”
“I think the matter demonstrated how far someone would go to basically mess up somebody and destroy someone’s name and image. You know it’s kind of surprising, you know you watch these stuff on Lifetime (Network) and you would be shocked, but in this case you are actually going through it. It depressed me and it was a kind of mood changer but yet it is still something that could uplift you, if you say, ok, am young, this is what could happen again, but I now have the experience as to how to go about it, how to respond,” explained Miss Imo.
The claims about the alleged larceny of the cell phone were made in June 2011, explained Imo, but it was not until some seven (7) months after, just before she was to return to St. Kitts for the Christmas school break, were charges brought against her. She said that in fact it was one week before she was due to return in the first week of December, that she, for the very first time, was made aware of any legal charges being made by Weekes.
When asked how she felt about what she was hearing, she said, “Well I knew I did not do anything so it did not move me at all. And I did not know how serious it was until one day my boyfriend called me and told me the investigating officer came to his job to question him.”
“When I arrived home on 6th December, I had the Miss Talented Teen pageant to do on 16th December. The day before the Talented Teen, which was 15th December, the investigating officer asked me to come to the station for a meeting…when I went to the meeting I was put away in a cell, the officer was informed and he came up. I thought it was wrong to ask me to come for a meeting and when I did, they locked me away.”
“I was at the court house on East Independence Square, involved in an related matter, also involving Ms. Weekes, pertaining to charges that she damaged the windscreen of my car, (during the altercation at Peninsula Cove). The investigating officer then invited me for an interview because he said he wanted to ask me about the report that was made by Miss Weekes, about her phone. I ran some errands, came back and when I went to the station I asked for him. I was told that he was not there, but I could come around and sit down, on the ‘Bench’. So after I sat on the Bench, a next officer came and said (jokingly) I am a good criminal, because I could walk from outside to inside and end up on the Bench. So that’s when I asked the officers, well what am I doing here? And the officer said, well, you are arrested. I asked, for what? They told me larceny. So they told me to take out my earrings and stuff. By that time I was really arguing over the strange situation, even though that was not a part of me (my true nature).And they were like telling me, hush and simmer myself…I know I was reacting in a way that was wrong, but it just hit me in a wrong way…thinking that they asked me to come for a meeting and when I arrive, I am told I am arrested.”
“I asked for phone calls, but they told me no. They asked that I remove all my jewellery. They said the officer will come back up and explain to me what is happening. But when he came back up, I asked him how come they locked me down? He said it was just a “holding cell. So I asked why I could not have been placed in an office, if it was just a holding cell, knowing that he asked for a meeting.”
“Every time he asked me a question, he would not give me a chance to answer; he would constantly interrupt me, in a rather aggressive and confrontational manner. I asked him, how come you don’t want me talk? You know his tone of voice was like I killed somebody.”
Imo continued sarcastically, “If that is the way they talk to people, that means they should crack more cases ….he was constantly telling me hush me mouth. Then he told me if I told him what he wanted to hear, he would not charge me…all I have to do is tell the truth and he won’t charge me…that is what he told me.”
“So I asked him, what you want me to say, ‘yes officer I took up the lady’s phone and just gave it to this young man, (because remember they found somebody else with the phone), And he was like, Yes, that is what I want you to say, because you know you do it,” stated a very upset Imo.
Imo also stated that the officer said, “Oh, you too pretty to be telling lies and you have these long hair and how I come in here in these (high) heels (shoes) and just fooling these other officers. He said he looked at my background and I am a very troublesome person, and saying how much people done make reports on me. But I said I am sure it’s over 35 people done make reports on the other lady. He told me in response, hush you mouth, this is my interrogation.”
“He was really dealing with me in a manner I did not like, and in the end, what happened was… because he locked me up on the Thursday, (15th December), he wanted to keep me for 72 hours over the coming weekend, which would have caused me to miss the show I was working on as a chaperon. I did not know how he knew I was chaperoning a young lady (on Friday 16th December).
He knew of the show, so to me when I sat down and figured it out, it seemed like he wanted me to miss the show, but how did he know?”
“Seems like there was a plan, because a BB was sent around saying, Oh big show tomorrow and one of the chaperons not gonna be there because she gonna be locked down. I got like 62 BBs and 101 missed calls, with everybody calling me asking what happened.”
Imo continued, “Eventually my lawyer came. The lawyer told me they are going to let me go…I was thinking that was going to be the end of it. When I was leaving he, (the arresting officer), was trying to be nice now eh, because he was being told how you could lock up the girl for this ‘nuisance’ to society. All of a sudden he was humble and he said I was just doing my job. And when I was leaving he said Ms. Imo don’t think I was mean to you, you know. But I just put up my hand like, I don’t wannna hear it. He repeated, don’t think I was mean to you, you know, ah just doing my job. So I was like, how he come from being so mean and so reckless to talking to me so nice?”
As Imo continued to outline her story, she indicated, “He said to me that I am lucky and the reason he is letting me go is because he knows I have this chaperoning to do, but he is going to get back to me for further details. So, I was thinking this was going to be the end of it. This was about minutes to nine (9:00pm, Thursday 15th December), when I was released, after being held since 12:30 in the afternoon.”
However, that was not the end. Imo was again arrested and instead of being placed on the bench, she was placed in a cell. Then came the date set for the hearing…what she did in the cell and drama of getting bail. These and other details that eventually led to her complete release will be covered in part two of this article, on MiyVue.com, on Monday 23rd January, 2012, when Imo would also explain why she cried in the cell.