January 21, 2016
Statement on Remarks by Everald Warmington, M.P. in Parliament
The 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Development and Empowerment wishes to express great concern at the utterances of Everald Warmington, M.P. on January 19, 2016 during a debate in the Lower House. On two occasions, Mr. Warmington referred to fellow Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna as a “Jezebel,” a term that is highly offensive to women.
Mr. Warmington’s behaviour is not only an insult to Ms. Hanna and to all Jamaican women, but also an indication of his disrespect for the Parliament and the people he serves. As an elected Member of Parliament, Mr. Warmington should be setting an example to children, and young men in particular, regarding respectful behavior – and in particular towards women. It is noteworthy that Mr. Warmington has complained about Ms. Hanna’s attire in the past and has even moved a motion on correct dress for women in the House. Furthermore Mr. Warmington has become infamous for his inappropriate behavior, which includes the use of profanity to journalists and using demeaning terminologies such as “garbage” which he used to describe Finance Minister Peter Philips.
Mr. Warmington’s vulgar behaviour has served to create a toxic atmosphere in the Lower House, where the people’s business is conducted. On this occasion, his abusive response to colleagues, who protested his remarks compounded the problem. In addition this utterance from Mr. Warmington contravenes the intent of the Sexual Harassment Bill, which is to be discussed in Parliament.
An offhand withdrawal of his remarks is not sufficient. The Coalition demands that Mr. Warmington immediately and publicly apologizes to Ms. Hanna and to all women representatives present; and to colleagues in the Lower House in general, for bringing the House into disrepute. Furthermore, the Coalition is awaiting an apology to the Jamaican people. It also expects that Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and his colleagues will distance themselves immediately from Mr. Warmington’s reprehensible behavior and will make clear statements indicating their strong rejection of such language. In light of this persistent behaviour we ask that all applicable Parliamentary Sanctions be enforced on Mr. Warmington.
Please feel free to contact Nikeisha Sewell Lewis at 929-8873 for further information.
Signed : 51% Coalition
Nikeisha Sewell Lewis
Institute for Gender and Development Studies
Young Women’s Leadership Initiative
Joan Grant Cummings
Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre
Jamaica Household Workers’ Union
Women Business Owners
WMW Jamaica (formerly Women’s Media Watch)