Wed | Jul 17, 2019

GraceKennedy responds to alleged attack on teacher by Calabar athletes

Published:Monday | March 25, 2019 | 3:01 PM
GraceKennedy Group CEO, Don Wehby - File photo

Don Wehby, CEO of the GraceKennedy Group, title sponsor of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs), says the alleged attack on a teacher at Calabar High School by student athletes provides an opportunity to fast-track the review of the Code of Regulations under the Education Act so that, in the future, anyone in breach will be held firmly to account.

Physics teacher Sanjaye Shaw has claimed that he was assaulted by two top athletes, DeJour Russell and Christopher Taylor, last December and that the school has failed to take any meaningful action against the students.

Noting that Champs is the single largest sponsorship for GraceKennedy worldwide, to the tune of over J$100 million, Wehby, in a statement this afternoon, said the incident has "huge" implications for the company.

"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," said Wehby.

"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," he said.

Full Statement

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 Organising 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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