Proclaiming that he was wrongfully fingered for the shooting at the Timehri Bus Park, Georgetown Football Club (GFC) forward Kelsey Benjamin Jr., said yesterday that the incident has been an eye-opening experience, one he wishes never to encounter again.
The 17-year-old former Santos prodigy was implicated in the inadvertent shooting of 54-year-old Jean Rodrigues on September 20th. However, it has been revealed following investigations that Benjamin was not involved in the unfortunate episode.
Speaking at a press conference held at the club’s Bourda location, the Chase Academy student declared his innocence in the ongoing matter, stating that the incident has been a harsh learning experience.
“Custody was very hard and I don’t want to get an experience like that again. I have learnt to ease some certain friends and ease liming,” he added.
According to Benjamin, while the incident has not harshly affected his budding football career so far, it could hamper his athletic opportunities for overseas trials and possible scholarship opportunities if the matter is prolonged.
“It has not affected me really but if the case prolongs it would affect me since I won’t get to go anywhere,” he said.
Although the versatile attacker confirmed that the event has not affected his sporting aspirations, he said that due to the accusation, he is often viewed by many individuals outside of the sporting realm as a criminal.
Principal of Chase’s Academy Henry Chase said it was a traumatic and unfortunate situation for a young person to go through adding that he is disappointed with the image that is being portrayed of the budding star athlete.
“He loves football and like most of the players in the school, have similar characteristics and could place more emphasis on academics. However, it is sad in this country we destroy talent, we are not a nurturing society. Kelsey is a national asset and sadly he is being portrayed as a villain and it’s a classic example of the society we live in,” he declared.
Chase, who also holds the portfolio of Guyana Futsal Association President, said that a social worker has indicated a willingness to provide professional help to the player and his mother.
GFC Team Manager Faizal Khan also threw his support behind the embattled Benjamin, emphatically affirming that the forward “does not shoot guns but many goals.”
He explained that the forward is highly regarded in the club and the overall football fraternity and that the team will do everything possible to ensure the experience does not stymie his development.
“It is important that his side of the story is heard and that the matter does not hamper in anyway his dream of becoming a professional footballer,” he declared.
Khan said that it was very unfortunate that an innocent woman was shot in the confusion, declaring that he wishes her a speedy recovery and for the matter to be resolved fairly.