KINGSTON, April 21, 2021 - Following a failed attempt last Tuesday, Leader of Opposition Business Anthony Hylton tabled a motion in parliament yesterday, to have Westmoreland Central MP George Wright suspended from the House of Representatives for allegedly assaulting a woman in a widely circulated video.
In moving the motion, Mr. Hylton who was shut down by the Speaker of the House last week before being able to speak, requested that Wright "confirm or deny the serious allegations against him, and if not denied, then a period of suspension be imposed" as determined by the House.
He also called for the matter be examined by parliament's Ethics Committee to decide whether further actions are necessary.
However, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has called the motion misguided and illconcieved, as the Parliament cannot ask Wright to implicate himself.
Speaker of the House Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert read a statement by female parliamentarians who came together in solidarity with women who have been affected by gender-based violence and denounced violence against women.
She said a national conversation is needed about the issue but also called for "strong action."
"We all bear responsibility to change our reality, and as leaders, as women in parliament, we feel that we cannot continue to simply speak. We must act. We must say to be public, 'This is not business as usual.'"
Wright who has been granted leave of absence from parliament has also been approved leave of absence from the Jamaica Labour Party and relieved of all party duties.
Earlier, Opposition Leader Mark Golding had said the actions taken in the matter involving the Westmoreland Central MP were not satisfactory.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness admitted that while the public would have liked to see stronger action against the MP, "and justifiably so," he is bound by process and procedure as it relates to the law.
Holness said the government was investigating whether local laws should allow prosecution of domestic violence cases even when victims are uncooperative. He noted that at present, victims must be involved in the proceedings and if they decide at any time not to continue, the matter has to be dropped. He says this needs revision.
The Prime Minister noted that "other countries that have a similar jurisprudence as Jamaica, has provisions that allow domestic violence and abuse cases to be pursued even without the victim's own statement and participation" he said.
Holness said Wright’s leave of absence should be used to resolve the doubts which remain regarding the allegations of assault made against him. He said while the allegations made against Mr. Wright have not been proven, they are serious enough to cast doubt on his administration and impact its credibility "in rejecting the use of violence as a means of resolving conflicts."
On Friday, the police announced they had closed their investigation into allegations of assault involving the Westmoreland Central MP and a businesswoman identified as Tannisha Singh.
Investigators ended the probe because neither Mr. Wright nor Miss Singh were willing to participate in the probe as well as the poor quality of the video.