ISSA fires back at Calabar over opposition of KC’s Ugandan student

Thursday, March 16, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Following Calabar High School’s request for clarity in the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association’s (ISSA) decision to allow Ugandan Arymanya Rodgers of Kingston College to participate in the 2017 ISSA/ GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics championships, president Dr Walton Small has come out firing with his explanation.

OBSERVER ONLINE has been informed that 10 of the 15 ISSA Executives, made up of school principals, were at the meeting a few weeks ago and eight voted yes to allow Rodgers to participate. One voted no and the other abstained.

Calabar’s principal Albert Corcho was reportedly not in attendance and his school showed their disapproval with a statement on Wednesday to the media outlining several issues that they had with ISSA and not Kingston College.

Then on Thursday morning, a few members of the Calabar family marched to the ISSA office and handed over the Mortimer Geddes trophy a week early, as a mark of protest against the decision.

“I am very surprised. Absolutely surprised because I believed if they had an issue…myself and Mr Corcho have a very good relationship... he could have just called me to say: hey, this is where we are going. But he never called,” said Dr Small.

“However, looking at the content of the letter, would I respond to it with what they asked? No, I would not. We have never ever in our history published the result of any meeting held when schools ask us to review a case,” said Dr Small.

“Mr Corcho is an executive member. He has privileges, he can walk in, he can read the transcripts and see who voted for, against and who abstained,” he added.

“So for this to be happening in the public, I am extremely disappointed,” Dr Small reiterated.

Dr Small, who is the principal of Wolmer’s Boys, also cited that Calabar too benefitted after their team failed to meet the registration deadline to participate at Champs.

“As president, I oversaw a situation where Calabar had to ask us to look at the extenuating circumstances to allow them in,” revealed the ISSA president.

Asked if that was because the entry was late, Dr Small responded: “I will not go into the details about that. But we oversaw that situation and we said, Calabar will participate. All of us voted because we felt there were extenuating circumstances. We have done it for many schools”.

Meanwhile, he explained that Rodgers was flagged for registration in ISSA's system because, "For a student to participate right away coming from a non-member school or in this case, a different country, the student needs to be under the age of 16. The student should be registered by September 30 and should have an attendance record of 80 per cent."

"We asked the school to send a letter of appeal,” noted Dr Small.

The ISSA president then outlined what transpired:

*He (Rodgers) met the requirement of being under the age of 16 but the business of attendance and registration for September 30 were not so.
*The documentation that we received from Kingston College indicated that all documents, with effect for registration of Mr Rodgers, were received by July 18.
* The young man was originally slated to arrive in Jamaica on August 24 and an itinerary was provided. If all things went well, he would have been in Jamaica on the morning of August 24th.

*However, when the young man went to the airport on the morning of August 23rd for his the flight, he was refused boarding because Germany expected him to have a visa.

* Discussions were held at various levels, which included the Jamaica Foreign Affairs department, the German Foreign Affairs department and all of this documentation was received.

* With all that, he was still refused boarding by the airline and he lost his ticket because he had to use another method. Another ticket was purchased, which had the young man travelling from neighbouring Kenya and expected to arrive in Jamaica on the 24th of September. But because of the back and forth, he lost that ticket. So he travelled from Kenya by bus on September 23rd and again, with instructions, support and advise from the Jamaican Embassy here, he was refused a flight because the airline was insisting that he get a visa. Again, that ticket was lost.
* Eventually in September, he finally got a ticket to fly to Jamaica from Curacao. So they finally got a flight and it was on limited time and that flight took the young man to Jamaica on October 16.

“As is our practice, we have rules and regulations that govern participation in competitions by ISSA. But as we do every year for all competitions, if a school thinks that there are extenuating circumstances they can make an appeal and we [would] call an executive meeting together and deliberate. We felt that considering all that happened, that the young man (Rodgers) should be allowed to participate,” said Dr Small.
“What this means is that we would have waived the attendance and the deadline registration because we were convinced that enough effort was made to get the young man to Jamaica [in time],” Dr Small reiterated.
“This is a democratic society and if the committee decides that the young man should participate then that is so,” he added.

Howard Walker

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