Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is condemning violence against women and children and violence, generally, in the society.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on April 20, Mr. Holness said he was outraged at the display of violence in a viral video being circulated.
He noted that subsequent allegations that a person captured in the video is a Member of Parliament placed a new disturbing dimension to the issue.
“While every citizen, every one of us has a duty and must play their part and speak loudly and unequivocally against violence, we who sit in this honourable House, elected and appointed to make laws, policies, have a higher duty to exemplify the laws of the land and the policies which we espouse and advocate,” Mr. Holness said.
“If we are not seen as exemplifying the law and believing in what we preach, our electorate and the wider society will not take us seriously and, worse, they will not trust us. The allegations made against the Member, though unproven, are serious and have cast unresolved doubt which could impact the Government’s credibility in pursuing our long-established anti-violence strategies and policies, particularly as it relates to gender-based violence,” he added.
Mr. Holness informed that the Member in question has been separated from the Government Caucus and has taken a leave of absence from the House of Representatives.
“It is time that should be used well to resolve doubts and questions. What must be clear to the public is that the Government doesn’t want its credibility and leadership of the cultural and social revolution that is necessary in rejecting the use of violence as a means of resolving conflict to be impaired,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, in reading a joint statement from women in Parliament on violence against women, said the group continue to denounce domestic violence in all its forms and regardless of who the perpetrators are or may be.
“As members of the highest legislative body in the land, we have always committed to ensure that the rights of every individual in Jamaica are protected. We also continue to conduct the business of our country, respectful of the laws that govern us. As such, we seek to guarantee life, well-being and happiness of every individual. In this vein, violence, in particular gender-based violence, must at all times be denounced as a threat to life, well-being and happiness of our people. We, therefore, have never condoned and will never condone violence in any form, but in particular gender-based violence,” Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibert said.