JLP welcomes Chuck's apology for sexual harassment remarks

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JLP welcomes Chuck's apology for sexual harassment remarks

Monday, June 29, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party, Dr Horace Chang, and the Jamaica Labour Party women's parliamentary caucus today responded to comments made by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck during a sitting of the Joint Select Committee on the Sexual Harassment Bill last week.

Chuck, the Member of Parliament for St Andrew North East, was commenting on the time period within which a non-criminal sexual harassment complaint can be made, when he chuckled in reference to the #MeToo Movement, noting the length of time which elapsed between the encounters and the matters being reported.

The minister has since apologised “unreservedly” for what he called the lack of sensitivity displayed during the discussion.

Read: Chuck says sorry, as women theologians also slam him

In a statement from the JLP this morning, Chang, who is also minister of national security, said the party strongly condemns any statement which diminishes the importance of the issue of sexual harassment, or the broader issue of sexual violence.

Chuck, in a video released this morning, made a second apology for his "inappropriate" utterances, vowing that hisconduct in committee meetings and otherwise, will reflect the fact that he does not seek to diminish the importance of sexual harassment.

On behalf of the JLP, Chang said: "We therefore welcome Minister Chuck's apology and 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 of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport 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.

“The Jamaica Labour Party has always honoured and respected women and we will continue to so do, including through sensitisation 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.”

In closing, 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.”

Read text from Chuck's video apology below:

"Last week, while making a contribution at the Joint Select Committee on Sexual Harassment, I made an inappropriate statement regarding the time period for making complaints.

"I deeply regret what upon reflection, was insensitive behaviour on my part, and I unreservedly and sincerely apologize.

"I am personally concerned and troubled by the level of harassment and torment women have had to endure and continue to endure. This harassment is pervasive and makes it more of an imperative for the passage of the Sexual harassment bill which deals solely with civil protection of persons in an employment and institutional setting.

"I acknowledge and sympathize with the hurt and the trauma experienced by persons who are victims of harassment or any form of sexual abuse for which there is no statute of limitation.

"I commit and assure everyone who has been concerned by my utterance, that my conduct in Committee meetings and otherwise, will reflect the fact that I do not seek to diminish the importance of this issue.

"I always advocate for women to be treated with dignity and respect and I believe in a society where women are never objectified or exploited.

"My comments last week did not convey this personal and professional truth and for that I am also deeply sorry.

"I ask for the public's forgiveness and commit to championing the cause and concerns of our women and to be an ally and an advocate representing fully and fairly the women of Jamaica."


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