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

Following Calabar High’s request for clarity in the Inter Secondary School Association’s (ISSA) decision to allow Ugandan Arymanya Rodgers to participate in the 2017 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 High’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 just have 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.

“I can tell you this, yes. But I as president, I oversaw a situation where Calabar had to ask us to look at the extenuating circumstances to allow them in,” revealed Dr Small.

“Is that because their entry was late?” Dr Small was asked. “I will not go into the detail 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”.

“The young man (Rodgers) from KC in our registration process, our system, we called it, flagged him for registration. 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 ask the school to send a letter of appeal,” noted Dr Small.

The ISSA president then outline what transpired:

*He met the requirement of under 16 but the business of attendance and registration for September 30 were not so.

*The documentations that received from Kingston College indicated that all documentations with effect for registration of Mr Rodgers was 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 to board the flight he was refused boarding because Germany expected him to have 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 travelled from neighbouring Kenya and should 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 the September 23rd and again instructions and support and advises from the Jamaican Embassy here, he also refused a flight again because the airline was insisting that he get a visa. Again that ticket was lost.

* Eventually in September he would finally get 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 practise we have rules and regulation that governs participation in competitions by ISSA. But as we do every year for all competitions, if a school thinks that there are extenuating circumstance they can make an appeal and we call an executive meeting together and deliberated and we felt that considering all that happened that the young man should be allowed to participate,” said Dr Small.

“What this mean is that we would have weaved the attendance and the deadline registration because we were convinced that enough effort was made to get the young man to Jamaica,” Dr Small reiterated.

“This is a democratic society and if the committee decides that the young man should participate then that was so,” he added.

Howard Walker

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