I unreservedly apologise, says Chuck

I unreservedly apologise, says Chuck

Saturday, June 27, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says he is "apologising unreservedly for the lack of sensitivity displayed" during a discussion of the issue of sexual harassment at Thursday's sitting of The Joint Select Committee on the Sexual Harassment Bill.

Chuck was commenting on the proposed time period within which a non-criminal sexual harassment complaint can be made.

“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',” the minister had said, while chuckling. “No, if you don't complain within 12 months, please, please, cut it out.”

The minister has come under fire for the comment, which many have decried as insensitive, and reason for him to step down.

Read more: Chuck under fire

In a statement today, Chuck stated, “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.

Today’s statement follows his Twitter post on Thursday in which he described his utterances as “joviality”.

“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,” he said.

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