Protesters up the ante on calls for Bishops’ HM’s sacking

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…to protest Education Ministry next 

As the calls for the removal of the Bishops’ High School Head Mistress (HM), Winifred Ellis, intensifies, protesters have revealed their intentions of picketing the Ministry of Education to appeal to the subject Minister, Nicolette Henry.

The Education Minister addressing the issue, had said “I know these things can get sensational at times but the world in which we live matters like that ought to be raised and ought to be dealt with very seriously and condignly and that is the ministry’s intention to deal with the matter in the appropriate way using existing and appropriate channels that exist and, so we will activate the process and take the necessary steps.”

“We will be in front of the Ministry of Education tomorrow to appeal to the Minister Henry…Now this is not a protest against Bishops’ High School, this is a protest against Bishops’ Head Mistress who berated young ladies. I don’t know if you’ve heard the tape, her tone was one of condescension, one of absolute dictatorship and authority and shamed these young ladies,” one of the protesters identified as Don Singh, told media operatives.

Protesters gathered in front of Bishops’ for the second time calling for the HM’s dismissal

According to protesters on Wednesday, Ellis’ actions in an effort to defend alleged sexual predator, Coen Jackson who serves in the capacity of an economics teacher at the Bishop’s High School, has proven her to be “unfit” and as such, she should be made to resign.

“We’re out here to protest the actions of Miss Ellis and calling for her immediate removal. We’d like to underscore here she is clearly unfit to head such a prestigious institution and more so such an institution where there is such a large amount of young ladies that need to be protected,” Learie Barclay said.

He further expressed hope that the Education Ministry and other relevant authorities would look into the matter which can prove to be both psychologically and emotionally damaging for the young students.

“These young ladies need counselling after such an onslaught on their reputations, and onslaught on their virtue, and onslaught on their self-esteem, and onslaught of their self-confidence at the expense of a gentleman,” he said.

Many other  picketers reiterated calls for students of the high school to be receive counselling.

The protesters have maintained that they intend to continue protesting the matter at hand until Ellis is removed from the school system.

Over the course of the latter part of last week, allegations of Jackson’s grooming and sexual molestation of several teenagers took social media by storm.

A formal complaint against the teacher of over 15 years, was made to the Ministry of Education over the weekend and was addressed to the Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry; the Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan; the Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally; the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence; the Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams; and the Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton.

Since then, Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson has informed the media that an investigation has been launched.

On Monday, the Head Teacher of the Bishop’s High School reportedly called a general assembly where she sought to berate female students for not coming to the defence of the alleged predator.

In a leaked recording of a speech purported to be that of Ellis, the Head Mistress was heard describing the teenagers as “slack” and “loose” and even demanding that they “step out of the line” if they’ve ever been “approached, propositioned and interfered” with by Jackson.

This resulted in the first picketing exercise for the Head teacher’s removal, which was conducted yesterday (Tuesday) in front of the Bishop’s High School.

Jackson (second from left) flanked by his attorneys

In the presence of his Attorneys- Jerome Khan, Priyanka Sookraj and Siand Dhurjan-Bishops High School former Economics teacher, Coen Jackson, broke his silence on the allegations against him which claimed that he abused his position of trust as a teacher and groomed female, and some male, students for sexual activity.

At a press conference on Tuesday, in the Office of Attorney Jerome Khan, Jackson denied the allegations made against him.

He said that his complainant, “has created this caricature of me as a beast, as a predator. There are many students that could testify on my behalf. My professional conduct, my ability in the subjects that I teach, the performance record of me as a teacher is there. I have contributed to the COI on education…I have a track record of high performance,” he said.

However, Jackson did admit to dating two former students of the Bishops High School.

He explained that he is currently in a relationship with a 21-year old former student and has been involved with the young woman for a number of years.

Jackson posited his belief that the matter was only brought to light by a notorious character in society only after he [complainant] became engaged in an intimate relationship with a former student of the Bishop’s High School, with whom Jackson had been involved with.

“In the process I have been accused, prosecuted and convicted in the court of public opinion…I wish to deny the accusation being peddled by [ the complainant] and believe that he is using this as a basis for his self promotion, disregarding what damage is done to many, many persons profession, reputation and character,” he said.

 

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