While the Jamaican police and government authorities have seemingly gone silent on the alleged abuse by Westmoreland Member of Parliament George Wright, Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora continue to put pressure on the government for an outright condemnation of the violent actions recently depicted in a viral video and an appropriate consequence in response.
On May 6th, 12 organizations and 68 Jamaicans from at home and in the diaspora signed a press release titled ‘We Naa Ease Up!’ demanding the resignation of the Westmoreland Central MP.
In April, Wright and a woman were allegedly involved in a physical altercation that caught the attention of the entire nation and diaspora. Both made independent reports of the altercation to the Anchovy police and Ramble police, respectively. However, due to a lack of cooperation from both individuals, the police closed the case.
The MP is now on a leave of absence from parliament and has been stripped of all duties by the Jamaica Labour Party.
In the release that was signed by WE-Change Jamaica, Women’s Health Network, Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean, former Jamaican Senator Imani Duncan-Price, Donna Morton of South Florida-based group Women of Kulture Inc, and scores of others, it stated: “We, the women of Jamaica and beyond, who have signed this press release NAA EASE UP! Note that May 6, 2021, marks one month since Tannisha Singh and Member of Parliament George Wright made independent reports of a physical altercation to the Anchovy Police and Ramble Police, respectively.”
“To date, to the best of our knowledge, Mr Wright has not provided any acceptable explanation of the circumstances surrounding this reported physical altercation. Further, his leave from Parliament, WITH PAY, “to attend to unforeseen circumstances” is unacceptable. Taxpayers deserve more! The government needs to honour SDG #5 (gender equality) to which Jamaica is signatory.”
The release continued, adding, “Reports of violence against women and children continue. The recent reports of sexual assault of a 13-year old girl and a five-year old boy in St Ann are abhorrent! We intend to actively push our representatives to be more proactive and to URGENTLY address these human rights violations.”
The group is encouraging Jamaicans to join the ‘Thursday In Black’ one-day campaign that is being planned for May 13, 2021.
This is a joint action by the Institute of Gender & Development Studies, regional coordinating office at the University of the West Indies, and the Jamaica Council of Churches, in support of the elimination of gender-based violence.
Professor Opal Palmer-Adisa from the Institute of Gender & Development Studies is encouraging the entire diaspora to participate in the campaign. “It’s important that we take a stand and do what we can to make Jamaica safe for women and children and everyone. Right across the board, we need to eliminate violence in general,” she said.
Members of the diaspora can participate in the campaign she said by “wearing black t-shirts, [and taking] a picture [with the hashtags] #ThurdsayInBlack #EndGenderBasedViolence.”
Since the allegations, members of the diaspora in South Florida and scores of businesses and social justice organizations in Jamaica have condemned the alleged actions of the MP and called for his resignation.