Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Thwaites reiterates call for schools to cease athlete buying

Published:Monday | September 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Byron Bachelor (left), Kingston College old boy, speaks with Curtis Martin, chief financial officer, the Jamaica National Group, and KC principal Dave Myrie. They were at the opening of the new Byron Bachelor Athletics Complex at KC’s Melbourne campus on Upper Elletson Road in Kingston. The RuJohn Foundation, led by Bachelor and his family, contributed the bulk of the assistance to develop the facility. JN Bank also came on board to provide support to the development of the track.

Former Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has reiterated a call for schools to cease the practice of athlete buying.

Speaking at the opening of the new Byron Bachelor Athletics Complex at Kingston College's (KC) Melbourne campus on Upper Elleston Road in Kingston on September 14, the member of parliament for Central Kingston called for KC to be the standard-bearer for the recruitment of athletes.

"High schools in Jamaica are not professional clubs. We must not buy or otherwise induce students to move from one school to another for athletic purposes only," he remarked.

"Our interest must be for our schools to be as it were founded to be: the wholesome upbringing in mind and body of every student," he said to applause.

Within that context, Thwaites also called for students and Jamaicans generally not to take their education for granted. He reminded everyone at the opening of the athletic facility that although education is a basic right, it is still a privilege, noting that at the time of independence from colonialism, only 15 per cent of Jamaicans had access to five years of secondary education, compared to 100 per cent access today.

"So let the annals of North Street and Elletson Road reverberate with thanksgiving on a day like today," he said, praising KC's contribution to the Central Kingston constituency and Jamaica.

He called for the school to maintain the high standards of the facility in order to produce high-quality athletes.

Also speaking at the opening, Ali McNab, representing Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, praised the RuJohn Foundation, which was founded and led by KC old boy Byron Bachelor and his family, for their contribution to the school and Jamaica.

The RuJohn Foundation contributed 75 per cent of the cost to construct the facility, which includes a 350-metre, six-lane, synthetic track and a gym. Other contributors to the development of the complex included JN Bank, which made a presentation to chairman of the board of governors for KC, Michael Vaccianna, during the formal opening of the facility.

Vaccianna said the track will contribute vastly to the development of KC's athletes.