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FRONT-PAGE EDITORIAL

What is the JLP doing about George Wright?

Published:Sunday | May 16, 2021 | 12:13 AM
George Wright
George Wright

In the event the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) has forgotten, it is now a month since it promised that its “requisite organs would promptly meet” to discuss George Wright’s membership in the party and to determine its “next steps” once a determination was made.

Promptly, should the JLP’s brass need reminding, means immediately, or doing something without delay. So procrastinating for a month, if that has, indeed, been the case, wouldn’t satisfy the urgency with which the party led the public to believe it would handle the George Wright affair.

Neither would – or should – Jamaicans be satisfied if they are told by the JLP that “its requisite organs” did in fact meet and arrive at conclusions on how to deal with Mr Wright, but that those outcomes couldn’t be shared because of internal party considerations. For, implicit in the party statements of a month ago was a promise to take the public fully into its confidence. Dithering would lead to a not unreasonable conclusion of further contortions by the JLP, after its facilitation of Mr Wright’s leave of absence from Parliament and its removal of the Government whip from the MP, to avoid dealing with this matter frontally.

George Wright, it is recalled, is the parliamentary representative for Westmoreland Central, part of the cohort of first-timers swept into the House on the JLP’s election wave of September 2020. He, however, has been the centre of controversy since a video emerged last month of a man, alleged to be Mr Wright, violently battering a woman. The images on that video would, of themselves, cause outrage. The public’s anger was exacerbated by the video’s emergence after the spate of murders of women and intense debate over gender-based violence.

Mr Wright has not denied that he is the beater in the video. He has publicly said nothing of the affair, although the JLP says he has acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations against him and their implications for his role as a parliamentary representative. The Opposition has a parliamentary motion for Mr Wright’s suspension from the House, which is yet to be debated.

Our sense is the JLP is politically flummoxed on how to deal with the matter, hoping that it will just go away or become, as Jamaicans say, another nine-day wonder. That must not be. The JLP shouldn’t be allowed to shirk its responsibility and obligation to Jamaicans in this matter.