Fyzabad Secondary have withdrawn from all Secondary School Football League (SSFL) competitions in 2017 as the fall-out from their suspension for fraudulently registering two players into lower sixth form continues.
Yesterday, the SSFL executive suspended the “Fyzo Tigers” from the Premier Division after it was discovered that the school had registered team captain and central defender Dez Jones and midfielder Maurice Dick on the basis of forged documents.Jones and Dick have two and one O’ Level passes respectively. However, the players were enrolled in lower sixth form with certificates which suggested that they had four passes each.
Jones and Dick both claimed that they handed their original certificates to Fyzabad team manager and physical education teacher Nigel Lakhan and were unaware of the deception. Lakhan, according to the SSFL, insisted that the players were the ones who presented falsified papers.
Today, the ramifications of the scandal—which has since been forwarded to the Ministry of Education—saw Fyzabad’s entire football programme go down in flames, as Wired868 was reliably informed that principal Troy Jebodhsingh stopped his school from participating in all SSFL competitions until there is a comprehensive internal review of its teams.
“[He] stopped all football in the school at every level based upon the fact that the school’s reputation and character is being tarnished,” a well-placed source at Fyzabad told Wired868, on the condition of anonymity, “and [he has] to make sure every single player is legitimate…
“[The principal] loves football but not more than his own character and integrity.”
Apart from the Premier Division, Fyzabad also participated in the SSFL Girls Championship Division and boys age-group competitions.
Jebodhsingh told Wired868 that he is unable to comment on the ongoing controversy owing to Ministry of Education regulations. However, a source close to the principal insisted that Jebodhsingh was as much a victim as anyone else.
A crucial bit of information that has gone largely unnoticed, according to the source, is that the falsified certificates suggested Jones and Dick wrote exams in January rather than June.
And, while Fyzabad Secondary would have access to the June results, this, according to the source, is not the case for the January exams.
“In this particular instance, the certification under consideration is a January exam [and] if an exam is not written in [Fyzabad] we wouldn’t have access to the results,” said the source. “The January exams are private examinations which take place in different centres throughout the country. No January exam was written in Fyzabad.”
Neither Dick nor Jones wrote exams in January. Both teenagers told Wired868 that they continued to attend school in Fyzabad between January and May.
Dick did not bother to take the June exams at all—as he felt he was too far behind academically—while Jones did show up for the test but never bothered to check his results.
Dick and Jones both repeated form five at Fyzabad after transferring in from Moruga Secondary and Siparia Secondary respectively in September 2016. Both were enrolled in lower sixth form in September although Jones was not sure what form he was supposed to be in.
Jebodhsingh claimed, according to the source, that he was on holiday until 28 August and was out of the country when the registration process for Dick and Jones began. And, when the paperwork did cross his desk, it had already been vetted by the school’s screening committee and vice-principal Suresh Roopnarine.
The January exam results went on to be okayed by the school supervisor, Zabeedah Abid—on behalf of the Ministry of Education—and the SSFL Credentials Committee. Nobody, it seems, questioned the authenticity of the code for the exam certificate or insisted that original copies be produced.
“In this particular case, the information is in the code,” said the source. “[The school] has 70-something applications so they will not watch to see if a code is legitimate. We didn’t have the original…
“This went from the screening committee, then to the vice-president and principal and the school supervisor. Then once the supervisor approved it, it went to the [SSFL].
“Everybody at every stage was unaware that this certificate wasn’t what it was claimed to be.”
Once the SSFL began its probe—after a request made by Trinity College Moka—Jebodhsingh allegedly started his own internal investigation and asked the students to produce their original certificates.
Dick and Jones, according to the source, said they gave their documents to Lakhan. But neither boy has yet made a written statement to that effect.
The source accepted that Jebodhsingh and the school must bear some responsibility for the scandal but suggested that some persons went too far in their criticism.
“It is not as if [Jebodhsingh] sat down with any child or teacher to forge any certificate and it is hurtful [for him] to see comments being made like that,” said the source. “[His] educational career as far as the public is concerned is ruined. People don’t want to know or understand; all they care about is this happened and it is the school’s fault…
“This is a serious indictment against the school and the integrity of the whole system. But remember nobody picked this up; everybody accepted it.
“We have no problem with the Ministry or police getting involved. Let the chips fall where they may.”