The absence of Calabar High School represent-atives was conspicuous at yesterday’s launch of the 2017 Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace-Kennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston as the defending champions’ protest over the school sports governing body’s decision to allow Ugandan 800 metres runner Aryamanya Rodgers to compete for Kingston College at this year’s event threatened to overshadow all.ISSA President Dr Walton Small moved quickly to address questions over ISSA’s decision despite rules stating that athletes must be registered for their respective schools by September 30 and have at least 80 per cent attendance record to compete at Champs.Small explained that ISSA had received all documentation from Kingston College as early as July 18, 2016 and the athlete was scheduled to arrive in Kingston on August 24, 2016.However, he said, adding that ISSA had been party to the paper trail, when Rodgers arrived at the airport in the Ugandan capital at Kampala, he was refused boarding for Germany as it was determined he needed a German visa to travel. This was communicated to KC authorities and Jamaican embassy officials who moved to address the issue.TICKET CANCELLEDRodgers’ airline ticket was cancelled and a second ticket purchased for him to arrive in Kingston on September 24, 2016, via Kenya. However, he was once again refused boarding.Eventually Rodgers received clearance, and he travelled to Kingston on October 16 and began school at KC on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.”We waived the attendance and deadline registration because we were convinced that enough effort was made to get the young man to Jamaica,” said Small.The vote by those present was one absentia, one against, and the remaining members voted in favour.He noted that not all 15 members of the executive were present. Among those absent was Calabar Principal Albert Corcho, whom Dr Small said learnt of ISSA’s decision on the day it was made.”This is a democratic society, and if the committee decides that the young man should participate, then that was the result, and that was sent off to Kingston College.”Meanwhile, Small said that he had received a letter addressed to the “Chairman of ISSA”, dated Friday, March 10, on Wednesday (March 15) from Corcho, demanding the results of the case be published in the media within seven days of the decision.”Mr Corcho is member of the executive committee, and if he wants, he can get not only the letter that was sent to Kingston College, but also the details of the minutes to see the discussion, to see who voted, who abstained, and who voted against,” he said.ISSA had scheduled an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon to decide on that matter and several others.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has revealed that the procurement process to acquire equipment for the Forensic Laboratory has been approved. The Minister disclosed that the equipment costs fell within the vicinity of US$1 million and was provided for by the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) of the Public Security Ministry.Ramjattan also disclosed that over the next six to seven months, the Laboratory, located at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, would have its security upgraded to safeguard the integrity of the exhibits. Ventilation work would also be completed and staff who would be conducting various forensic tests certified.“The American experts, through their Ambassador, indicated that we haven’t as yet reached the stage for that quality of DNA testing. And we had to wait until we get all the other things fixed – the infrastructural work, the integrity system and the ventilation system, because these exhibits have to be maintained at a certain temperature and also the design of that original lab wasn’t there yet.”The Public Security Minister said it was disappointing that DNA testing was not yet achieved. He, however, emphasised that the “accreditation and the certification, will come when we get it 100 per cent fixed.”The Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory (GFSL) is a Government initiative with the long-term goal of providing quality laboratory service to support forensic and non-forensic investigations. According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the GFSL offers forensic analysis on samples related to criminal investigations in the areas of toxicology, document analysis, trace evidence, and chemical analysis and non-forensic laboratory testing relating to matters not associated with criminal investigations.