Full Text | Unfair and unjust ... Opposition Senators react to Kamina over email claim
Opposition Senators have released a statement describing as unfair and unjust, the actions of the Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith in the email harassment controversy.
Johnson Smith on Friday named former Senator AJ Nicholson as the author of the harassing emails.
She read elements of the emails, saying Nicholson was warned by the police, but declined to publicly release the correspondences.
Nicholson has denied being warned by the police and has also denied harassing Johnson Smith.
In a statement released on Monday, the Opposition Senators denounced Johnson Smith's refusal to release the emails.
"The confounding actions of Senator Johnson-Smith, in making unsupported allegations against a former Senator while refusing to produce the emails which she says are the basis of her allegations, are unfair and unjust, and do a grave disservice to the cause of women's rights and the fight against gender-based violence," said spokesperson Senator Donna Scott Mottley.
See full text of the Opposition Senators' statement below:
Opposition Senators have taken note of the statement made in the Senate on Friday, May 14, 2021 by Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith. Her statement disclosed that the former member she was referring to during the sitting on April 23, 2021, and who she accused of sending her harassing emails, was former Senator AJ Nicholson.
Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith made the allegation during the debate addressing the matter of gender-based violence arising from a videotape which showed a brutal beating of a woman by a man, believed to be a Member of Parliament.
In response to Senator Johnson-Smith's allegations, Mr. Nicholson has denied the allegations and has shared the email thread which outlined the communication that took place between Senator Johnson-Smith and himself.
On Friday, May 14, 2021 Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith asserted that the released emails were not the emails she had referred to on April 23, but insisted that she would not go further to make the email in question public.
The confounding actions of Senator Johnson-Smith, in making unsupported allegations against a former Senator while refusing to produce the emails which she says are the basis of her allegations, are unfair and unjust, and do a grave disservice to the cause of women's rights and the fight against gender-based violence.
The Opposition Senators also wish to voice their disappointment with the blatant misuse by Senator Johnson-Smith of Standing Order #18 which permits a personal explanation but states that “…no controversial matter may be brought forward nor may debate arise upon the explanation.”
We denounce the Senator's attempt to use the shield of parliamentary privilege to imply wrongdoing, even implying sexual harassment, in making unfounded allegations to denigrate her former Senate colleague.
We have assessed those emails made public by AJ Nicholson and note that there are inconsistencies with what was stated in the Senate. As Senators we reiterate our strong commitment to challenging instances of harassment and abuse of any sort and place on record our condemnation of gender-based violence. It is one of the reasons why the release of all the subject emails is of utmost importance.
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