Fri | May 14, 2021

Leave of absence for Wright

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2021 | 12:08 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
George Wright
George Wright

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is set to ratify that George Wright, the embattled Westmoreland Central member of parliament, go on a leave of absence from the party until investigations into allegations that he was involved in a brutal beating of a woman are concluded.

Party sources told The Gleaner on Thursday evening that a marathon meeting of government members of parliament ended with some disgruntlement about how the party was handling the matter, which has stoked outrage in the society.

Wright is under investigation as to whether he was involved in an April 6 incident captured on video showing a man delivering blows to a woman.

Wright has so far not denied that he is the man in the video although he was released from the Freeport Police Station on Wednesday, where he was questioned.

The Gleaner understands that the woman who was battered in the April 6 incident reported to the police on Thursday for an interview alongside her attorneys.

Sources disclosed that the government MPs who participated in an online meeting had been briefed by general secretary of the JLP, Dr Horace Chang, and Olivia Grange, the deputy leader of government business in the House.

Grange is also the minister of gender affairs.

Chang and Grange met with Wright in person in Kingston earlier on Thursday, but The Gleaner understands that the outcome of the tete-a-tete was less than favourable.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who leads the JLP, had directed that internal organs of the party be activated to meet with Wright over the allegations.

Holness said that the JLP would not tolerate domestic violence.

“As a political organisation, we have a duty to ensure that all our actions follow the due process of the law. However, we also have a high duty to ensure that matters which affect public well-being and public trust, particularly where public figures are involved, are addressed transparently and timely,” Holness said.

Neither Holness or the JLP can unilaterally remove Wright as MP for Westmoreland Central, but he might be referred to Parliament’s Ethics Committee if he is formally charged by the police.

The Standing Orders states that the Ethics Committee “shall have the duty ... of receiving and investigating any reports of civil or criminal proceedings being instituted against any member and making appropriate recommendations to the speaker of the House”.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com