Mr Wright should now do the patriotic thingSunday, June 06, 2021
Under a persistent cloud of suspicion over an egregious act, for which he has neither admitted guilt nor protested his innocence, Mr George Wright has resigned from his party, fuelling further speculation that he was the man in a video mercilessly beating a woman.
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) informed the country late Friday that Mr Wright, the Westmoreland Central Member of Parliament (MP), had terminated his membership in the party, but without giving any explanation for that decision in its press statement.
The JLP noted, however, that Mr Wright had stated his intention to address matters in the public domain, and “his continued belief in the policies and programmes of the Government and party”.
The MP, we believe, has done the right thing, politically, in moving to rid the JLP of any appearance of being soft on violence against women as graphically portrayed in the video which surfaced in April.
He now needs to go further and do the patriotic thing by resigning from the Parliament which, under the circumstances, can only rely on Mr Wright acting on his own conscience, since he has not been convicted of any crime in a court of law.
We expect that he will step away from the House of Representatives and elective politics because, as much as he values the image of the JLP, he will want to demonstrate that he values even more the image of the Jamaican Parliament.
Indeed, we believe that Mr Wright's “continued belief in the policies and programmes of the Government and party”, to use the JLP's own words, would guide him to remove the Administration from the appearance of accommodation.
To be clear, the Wright case is a difficult one but one which goes to the heart of what we believe about ourself as a country.
He has not, in the weeks since the airing of that scandalous video, admitted to being the man in question. Neither has the woman, for her part.
The Police have dropped the case for now, saying that neither the man nor the woman in the video has been willing to co-operate with their investigations. That has not stopped the outrage against Mr Wright in the court of public opinion.
The matter has been complicated by the fact that people expect an innocent man to be strident in declaring it. That is the constitutional right of every Jamaican, that a man is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
In the absence of him claiming that inalienable right, one wonders if Mr Wright is being legally smart and hedging his bet.
It is conceivable that even though the police say its investigation has been concluded, the video could have been sent to sophisticated labs overseas to help identify the people in the recording.
If that is successful, and if Mr Wright is the culprit, a denial would sink his case, as that by itself could be construed as an admission of guilt. In addition, the woman in the video can still choose to come forward with an accusation, being still within the statute of limitations.
The situation has been made worse by the fact that the JLP told the country that the MP was no longer a member of its caucus, followed by his leave of absence from the Parliament. Guilty or not, Mr Wright is not being given the benefit of the doubt.
This cloud hanging over his head will colour everything he does going forward, we believe. A country should not be held ransom to this sort of imbroglio.
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