Sun | Jun 13, 2021

It was AJ!

Johnson Smith names ‘angry’ former PNP bigwig as author of rape-littered email

Published:Saturday | May 15, 2021 | 12:14 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Johnson Smith
Johnson Smith

Though retiring from politics, long-time People’s National Party Senator AJ Nicholson is back in the spotlight having been named by Kamina Johnson Smith as the one who sent her emails which she found to be threatening and harassing.

During Friday’s sitting of the Senate, Johnson Smith broke her silence on the issue having been put under pressure by Opposition Senator Lambert Brown even as he had acknowledged that she might still be mourning the passing of her father.

On April 23, Johnson Smith dropped the bombshell that she had been sent threatening and harassing emails from a PNP senator but did not disclose the name.

In revealing the identity of the person behind the emails which she said had triggered a police investigation, Johnson Smith said she got an email from the senator under the caption “RAPE …, REAL … RAPE”.

The emails had come four years after a 2014 high-drama session of the Senate involving Johnson Smith, Nicholson and Marlene Malahoo Forte sparring over a sotto voce comment made by Nicholson about “flexi-rape”.

From as far back as then, Nicholson had started writing emails and one was sent to Malahoo Forte, in which the then senior senator professed his innocence as he mentioned that Johnson Smith had gone on radio to say he had made the comment in the Senate.

“But let your colleague be assured that the evil that people do...the big payback is coming. Mark my word!” Nicholson wrote then.


Johnson Smith, the foreign affairs and foreign trade minister, disclosed that Nicholson was “warned by the police”.

But Johnson Smith said emails started to come again, specifically on August 6 and September 23 of 2018.

The Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Johnson Smith, said on the last date she asked Nicholson to cease and desist and Nicholson replied that he was satisfied that his email had made her uncomfortable and had “hit the spot”.

This September 23 email, Johnson Smith said, ended with the words, “Karma, more to come”.

“… in the context of the threatened big payback which was to come and the odd content of the emails, I felt concerned for my safety,” Johnson Smith said.

She said it was clear that Nicholson had been carrying anger for four years.

Nicholson had occupied the position of foreign affairs minister before Johnson Smith.

The Leader of Government Business in the Senate said she had been interviewed by the Criminal Investigation Branch as well as CISOCA having reviewed the emails.

In explaining why she did not press the issue, Johnson Smith said she did not out of fear and a desire not to distract from and overshadow important international developments.

Johnson Smith said too that she would not disclose the rest of the emails as she did not want to litigate the matter in the public space as she had chosen not to in the court.

But Johnson Smith said she would have done things differently.

“In hindsight, I can see that regardless of his clear desire to intimidate, I did not let him have power over my path or have him and his behaviour change the focus away from the achievements under my tenure. The debates vindicate some of the fears I had not going public at the time. Were I to be confronted with the same situation today, I would probably take a different decision.”

She said there should be more focus on the actions of perpetrators and not those of victims.

“The PNP and Mr Nicholson may discuss the emails within the public domain and analyse them as they see fit to their heart’s content, but I will not be entering the discussion,” Johnson Smith said.

Efforts to contact Nicholson yesterday were unsuccessful.