Committee 'outraged', but sticks by Frater
The selection committee of the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence, which is administered by The CHASE Fund, stood by its decision to appoint former national sprinter and multiple world-level medallist, Michael Frater as the recipient of this year's honour.
However, the committee expressed "disappointment" and "outraged" at the circumstances surrounding his non-appearance at the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 16 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
An excuse was tendered at the function on Frater's behalf by his representative, Laurel Smith, that Frater was not fit to attend as the athlete had sustained a leg injury, which had been exacerbated by his contraction of the chikungunya virus.
review the matter
However, the athlete, who is also a vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), was spotted at a party at Ribbiz Ultra Lounge the same night following the function.
Subsequently, the selection committee met to review the matter and issued a statement on Monday.
It reads: "The Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence was conceptualised in 2004 by former prime minister, the Most Honourable PJ Patterson, and is administered by The CHASE Fund.
"Since its inception, the nine previous awardees have demonstrated throughout their careers, both on and off the field of play, as well as both before and after receiving the award, that they embody the attributes and spirit of the award.
"These include outstanding achievements and excellence in sport and practical demonstration of a high level of integrity, national pride, dedication, decorum, humility and discipline - all attributes personified by Ambassador, the Honourable Courtney Walsh, in whose honour the award was named.
"The selection committee, based on the criteria governing the award, stands by its selection of Mr Michael Frater, OD, as the 2014 awardee.
"The committee was disappointed by Mr Frater's notification that he would be unable to attend the awards ceremony due to health issues. The members are outraged by the circumstances surrounding his non-attendance and have noted the subsequent reports and commentary in mainstream media, social media and feedback from the general public surrounding his non-attendance.
"Mr Frater has issued letters of apology to the chairman of the CWA selection committee, Brian George, and it is our understanding that letters of apology have also been sent to the former prime minister, the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson; the chairman of CHASE, Dr Carlton Davies; Ambassador, the Honourable Courtney Walsh, in addition to the public apologies that have appeared in the print and social media.
"Mr Frater unequivocally apologised for his actions and accepts full responsibility for his error in judgement.
"The selection committee has accepted Mr Frater's apology and will work to provide opportunities for Mr Frater to reaffirm his commitment to and support of the principles of the award."