In a statement today, Dr. Chang said “We strongly condemn any statement which diminishes the importance of the issue of sexual harassment, or the broader issue of sexual violence. We therefore trust that going forward his conduct in the relevant Committee will reflect the seriousness with which we know he truly believes such matters should be addressed.”
Minister Babsy Grange, on behalf of JLP Women Parliamentarians added “The Jamaica Labour Party believes strongly that all Jamaican women must be able to work in environments which are not toxic or hostile as a result of unwanted sexual advances being made towards them, and that is why we believe this Bill is an important part of our agenda to protect and empower our women and girls.”
Minister Grange continued “The Jamaica Labour Party has always honoured and respected women and we will continue to so do, including through sensitization of the public to the issues raised by the new draft Sexual Harassment Bill, and more broadly, through amendments proposed to the Sexual Offences Act, Offences Against the Persons Act, and the Domestic Violence Act to give our women and girls greater protection from sexual violence.
Dr. Chang said “We, the Jamaica Labour Party, stand with the women of Jamaica who every day work hard to support themselves and provide for their families. We will not fail you.”
Chuck told the committee during its deliberations on the Bill, that victims of sexual harassment should either report the matter within the one-year time frame or forget about the matter.
“We don’t want the situation that now happens in the ‘Me Too’ movement in the US where 30 years later you talk about ‘I was harassed in the elevator’,” a chuckling Chuck told the members of the committee, adding “if you don’t complain within 12 months, please, cut it out."
However, Chuck found himself in ‘hot waters” coming under criticism from a wide cross-section of the society, with some indicating that he should resign as minister of justice.
On Saturday, Chuck issued an official apology saying,” when I queried what time limit would be appropriate, I made remarks about the #METOO movement".
“I unreservedly apologise to anyone who found my remarks inappropriate, as I never intended to disrespect the #METOO movement or to diminish the seriousness of the emotional trauma caused by sexual harassment, but on reflection I understand the concerns raised by members of the public.”
Chuck said he fully recognised the courage and strength of victims of sexual harassment who speak out against offenders, and stated that, in fact, in his other contributions to the discussion he encouraged women to report and bring criminal charges against men who touch them without invitation.
“If persons interpret my joviality as a lack of empathy, it was not meant and never intended to undermine the severity of the matter at hand. I do appreciate that sexual harassment is a serious and traumatic subject.
“As Minister of Justice, I do take my role seriously to ensure lawmakers give the issues their full attention and consideration.”
- Countries: Jamaica
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