Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Michael Abrahams | An open letter to George Wright

Published:Tuesday | April 27, 2021 | 12:10 AM
George Wright
George Wright

Dear Mr Wright,

I do not know you. As a matter of fact, I do not recall hearing your name being called prior to the sharing of the now infamous video of a man beating a woman, when allegations were made that you were the perpetrator.

It is a surveillance video, and we cannot see the faces of the man and woman involved clearly. What we do see, however, is that the assault was savage. The man grabbed, pulled, pushed, and repeatedly struck the woman. Some of the blows were inflicted by his bare hand, some by an object in his hand I could not identify, and some by a stool. The man held the woman with one hand, then grabbed the stool with the other and struck her on what appeared to be her head and upper body with it. Then he struck her with it again. She managed to free herself from his grasp and attempted to run to safety, but he ran after her, stool in hand, to strike her again. It was a brutal assault. He could have killed her. Had the stool struck her on certain parts of her head, she could have sustained a lethal head injury.

According to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), on April 6, 2021, you and Ms Tannisha Singh visited separate police stations to report a physical altercation. Ms Singh was said to have been escorted by the police to receive medical attention. On April 10, 2021, the police requested that you turn yourself in for questioning, and you did so. You were released without being charged, and subsequently the police announced that the case is closed “for now” as the parties involved do not want to proceed any further with it, and also because the quality of the video is poor.

DISTURBED ME DEEPLY

Mr Wright, I must confess, this situation has disturbed me deeply on many levels. I am very uncomfortable with the way you and your party have handled the situation, and I have many questions. First, if you are not the man in the video, why have you not declared your innocence? It is normal human behaviour for someone to defend themselves when accused of a crime or unacceptable act they did not commit. Second, if you are innocent, why doesn’t your lawyer declare your innocence? I have seen lawyers do this on many occasions. Third, if you are innocent, why are you on a ‘leave of absence’ at this time?

I am unable to prove you are guilty of this heinous act, but I, like many Jamaicans, am also unconvinced of your innocence. I find your reluctance to declare your innocence to be unsettling. In my opinion, you owe your constituents, the thousands of people who came out to vote for you during a pandemic, an explanation or an apology, or both.

The way I see it, the decent thing for you to do is to resign. If an elected official, someone in a position of leadership and authority, is unable to defend himself against such allegations, his leadership will be tainted and confidence in him compromised.

Also, if you really are the man in the video – you have not said you are not – I would strongly suggest that you and Ms Singh get serious professional counselling, and I say this sincerely, without malice or judgement. I understand that you are both in a relationship. Maybe you do love each other and are trying to work things out, but this level of violence in unhealthy, and one day someone could get killed. People who hurt others are often hurting themselves. Maybe you are hurting and do not even realise it.

Michael Abrahams is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, social commentator, and human-rights advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or Twitter @mikeyabrahams.