GraceKennedy expresses concern about alleged assault of Calabar teacher

Monday, March 25, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Don Wehby, CEO of the GraceKennedy Group, which is the main sponsor of the Boys and Girls Championships, has expressed concerns about allegations that members of the Calabar High School track team assaulted a teacher recently.

Wehby, in a statement today, said “...the alleged incident, which, if true, presents a very serious concern for GraceKennedy as title sponsors of the event, and which GraceKennedy would condemn in the strongest possible terms”. 

Head of the school's Physics Department Sanjaye Shaw made some damning allegations against the school, accusing it of attempting to cover up the incident in which he was allegedly assaulted by track and field stalwarts Christopher Taylor and Dejour Russell when he sought to borrow mattresses from the track team for a physics camp he was hosting.

While sharing that he formally filed a police report on Friday, Shaw told journalists at a press conference that he had delayed pressing charges against the athletes as he awaited a suitable response from the school in punishing Taylor in particular.

Read more: Still upbeat - Calabar teacher says he's not leaving

According to GraceKennedy's statement, Wehby met with senior officials of the organising body of ISSA/ GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championship regarding the incident this morning.

See GraceKennedy statement in full:

Following a letter dated March 22, 2019 to the President of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), and a subsequent follow up meeting with senior officials of the organising body this morning, GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby is releasing a statement on the recent alleged incident involving students and a teacher at Calabar High School.

According to Mr Wehby, “We met with ISSA President, Dr Walton Small, Vice President, Mr Keith Wellington and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Mrs Colleen Montague this morning.  We had a thorough and frank discussion regarding the alleged incident, which, if true, presents a very serious concern for GraceKennedy as title sponsors of the event, and which GraceKennedy would condemn in the strongest possible terms. 

“This is the single largest sponsorship for GraceKennedy anywhere in the world, to the tune of over J$100 million, and as such the implications for us are huge. We have taken the matter so seriously that we have consulted with our attorneys, who have advised that GraceKennedy does not have the power to decide which athletes participate in Champs and cannot determine what action the school or ISSA takes with regard to the alleged incident.  Further, having met with ISSA this morning, we have now been made to understand that ISSA is also not in a position to make such a determination. The decision rests squarely with the Board of Calabar High School.

“I always try to look for the opportunity in the crisis. This entire situation represents an opportunity for change, and is a teachable moment for all stakeholders including all School Boards and the Ministry of Education. Our understanding is that there is currently a Code of Regulations under the Education Act, which governs the conduct of students in schools, and which is currently under review. This alleged incident provides an opportunity for the acceleration of this review, so that, in the future, anyone in breach will be held firmly to account. 

“We are committed to working with ISSA, with whom we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship over the years, for the continued success of this world class event.”


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