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Minister in Jamaica apologises for comments on sexual harassment


Minister in Jamaica apologises for comments on sexual harassment

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Kingston – Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck has apologised “unreservedly” for the remarks he made during a discussion of the issue of sexual harassment at a sitting of the Joint Select Committee on the Sexual Harassment Bill last week.

Chuck told the committee that victims of sexual harassment should either report the matter within the one-year time frame or forget about the matter.

“We don’t want the situation that now happens in the ‘Me Too’ movement in the US where 30 years later you talk about ‘I was harassed in the elevator’,” a chuckling Chuck told the members of the committee, adding “if you don’t complain within 12 months, please, cut it out.”

But he came under criticism from sections of the population after the comment was made on Thursday, with some indicating that he should have stepped down as minister of justice.

But even as he was quick to apologise for his “joviality” which had been taken as “a lack of empathy”, Chuck issued another apology on Saturday saying, ”when I queried what time limit would be appropriate, I made remarks about the #METOO movement”.

“I unreservedly apologise to anyone who found my remarks inappropriate, as I never intended to disrespect the #METOO movement or to diminish the seriousness of the emotional trauma caused by sexual harassment, but on reflection I understand the concerns raised by members of the public.”

Chuck said he fully recognised the courage and strength of victims of sexual harassment who speak out against offenders, and stated that, in fact, in his other contributions to the discussion he encouraged women to report and bring criminal charges against men who touch them without invitation.

“If persons interpret my joviality as a lack of empathy, it was not meant and never intended to undermine the severity of the matter at hand. I do appreciate that sexual harassment is a serious and traumatic subject.

“As Minister of Justice, I do take my role seriously to ensure lawmakers give the issues their full attention and consideration,” he added. (CMC)