Calabar has the final say on whether Taylor will be at champs

... and from the looks of things, they're not going to withdraw him

by BRIAN PITTER

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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Chief Executive Officer of Grace Kennedy Limited, Don Wehby, has issued a statement regarding the controversial allegations surrounding Calabar athletes Christopher Taylor and De'Jour Russell.

Questions of whether the teens would be allowed to compete in this year's 'Champs' surfaced after Samjaye Shaw, a physics teacher at Calabar High School, brought it to the media's attention that he was physically assaulted by Taylor, and his phone was destroyed by Russell in an altercation on the school grounds in December. (read more about the teacher's claims here).

In the statement, which was made public on Monday afternoon, Wehby stated that a meeting took place between him and President of the Inter-Secondary School sports association (ISSA),Dr Walton Small, as well as Vice President Mr. Keith Wellington and Chairman of the Organizing Committee Mrs Colleen Montague.

He said "We had a thorough and long discussion regarding the alleged incident, which, if true, presents a very serious concern for Grace Kennedy as title sponsors of the event, and which Grace Kennedy would condemn in the strongest terms.”

Wehby went on to discuss further that even though Grace Kennedy are the biggest sponsors of the Championships, it is unlikely that they can interfere with the decision-making process regarding which athletes can participate in the event.

“We have taken the matter so seriously that we have consulted with our attorneys, who have advised that Grace Kennedy does not have the power to decide which athletes participate in Champs and cannot determine what action the school or ISSA takes regarding the alleged incident,” he said.

In the statement, Wehby also pointed out that the company had also been made aware that ISSA cannot make a determination either and the final decision rests in the hands of Calabar High School.

Meanwhile, Calabar High School posted a statement on their website that same day as the response form acting principal Calvin Rowe to the allegations made to the media at a press conference by Shaw. The detailed statement punched holes in Shaw's version of events, and maintained that the school did not have enough evidence to punish the students for assaulting the teacher.

"It ought to be noted that both punitive measures were aimed at addressing the matter of disobedience to a teacher's directive and NOT for assault, which we could not validate independently and with sufficient conviction," it read.

"We are deeply disappointed with the action taken by Mr. Shaw especially since, as a teacher of over four years tenure at Calabar, he could have sought the guidance of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) representative at the school who would have surely advised him to exhaust the avenues available to him for resolution within the school and wider education fraternity," it went on to say.

The 2019 ISSA/Grace Boys and Girls Championships commences today, March 26 and concludes on Saturday March 30.


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