There is something we call a “nine day wonder” in Jamaica. It may be a common phenomenon elsewhere, too. A controversial and pressing matter arises (often a manifestation of a frequently recurring issue that has never been properly addressed – such as this one) and there is a furore on social media, with traditional media jumping on the bandwagon. After approximately nine days (or sometimes sooner) it has faded. The sense of urgency has abated, the fever has receded. We can go on with life as usual. In this case, all the right heartfelt statements were made by Government representatives, and subsequently there was a pause – which is becoming an extended pause.
This press release is scattered with the word “urgent.” The signatories are determined to keep this issue on the front burner. And this issue is not to be ignored or put on a shelf.
No nine day wonders, please, until we get answers…and action.
We naah ease up!
We, the women of Jamaica and beyond, who have signed this Press Release, NAA EASE UP! Today, May 6, 2021, marks one (1) month since Tannisha Singh and Member of Parliament, George Wright, made independent reports of a physical altercation to the Anchovy Police and Ramble Police, respectively. To date, to the best of our knowledge, Mr Wright has not provided any acceptable explanation of the circumstances surrounding this reported physical altercation. Further, his leave from Parliament, with pay, “to attend to unforeseen circumstances” is unacceptable. Taxpayers deserve more! The government needs to honor SDG #5 (gender equality) to which Jamaica is signatory.
Reports of violence against women and children continue. The recent reports of sexual assault of a 13-year old girl and a 5-year old boy in St Ann are abhorrent! We intend to actively push our representatives to be more proactive and to URGENTLY address these human rights violations.
Our activities to bring about change will include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Persisting in our demand for the resignation of George Wright as an MP.
2. Monitoring the tabling of the Constitution (Amendment) (Impeachment) Bill (2011) to ensure that the people’s voices are heard through a Joint Select Committee.
3. Insisting on the signing and ratifying of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW) that was set for 2015; along with the ILO C190 to improve work conditions.
4. Pushing for URGENT examination of necessary legislative changes, including legislation to prosecute domestic abusers without the support or direct involvement of survivors, through mechanisms such as “evidence-led prosecutions,” as promised by Prime Minister Holness.
5. Encouraging the establishment of a Special Select Committee, pursuant to s.74 of the Standing Order, to address our Crime and Violence crisis, including violence against women and gender-based violence (GBV), so that the voices of the Jamaican people can be heard in finding solutions to this crisis.
6. Ensuring that Temporary Special Measures (TSMs), in keeping with Article 4(2) of the CEDAW, can be effectively used to address persistent cultural habits/behaviours that perpetuate gender-based violence (GBV).
7. Monitoring the many objectives of the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE) that have not yet been achieved and demanding adequate funding to support the NPGE and the main executing agency the Bureau of Gender Affairs.
We encourage Jamaicans to join the “Thursday in Black” island-wide one-day campaign, May 13, 2021. This is joint action by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Regional Coordinating Office, UWI, and the Jamaica Council of Churches, in support of the elimination of GBV.
Wear Black; Turn your Headlights on; Stand in front of your parish council office, courthouse, church!! Obey & Adhere to Health Protocols. Only 10 people at any one spot. Police approved!
SIGNATORIES (total 53: 12 organizations; 41 Individuals)
1. Girls Who Know Jamaica, Antonette Hines
2. Institute of Gender and Development Studies (IGDS-RGO), Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, University Director
3. Jamaica Community of Positive Women (JCW+)
4. Jamaica Household Workers Union, Shirley Pryce
5. No Nine Day Wonder #N9DW
6. North East Manchester Skilled Women
7. Stand up for Jamaica, Carla Gullotta
8. WE-Change Jamaica
9. Woman Inc, Joyce Hewett
10. Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC)
11. Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean (WENC), Ethnie Miller Simpson
12. Women’s Health Network
1. Alissa Trotz, Professor, Canada-Guyana
2. Aloun Ndombet Assamba, WMW Life Member
3. Andrea Jacque Bennett
4. Anna Kasafi Perkins PhD, Co-Convenor, Caribbean Women Theologians for Transformation
5. Danuta Radzik, Human Rights advocate
6. Diana McCaulay, Environmental activist
7. Diedre Chang
8. Dorothy White, Community Development specialist
9. Emma Lewis, Independent Blogger, https://petchary.wordpress.com
10. Grethel Bradford
11. Helen Atkins, WMW intern / IGDS student, UK
12. Hilary Nicholson, Member WMW Jamaica
13. Honor Ford-Smith, Toronto; Co-founder Sistren Theatre Collective
14. Imani Duncan-Price, former Senator, Gender and Development Activist
15. Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, Managing Director, Change Communications limited
16. Jenny Jones, Sociologist
17. Joan French, Women’s Rights Activist, Coordinator of the Partnership for Women’s Health and Wellness
18. Joan Grant Cummings. Gender and Development specialist and activist
19. Judith Wedderburn, Independent Gender Advocate
20. Lana Finikin, Convenor Groots Jamaica Co Chair Latin America & Caribbean CoNgo Committee
21. Linnette Vassell, Gender Advocate
22. M. Ann Phillips
23. Michelle Golding Hylton, Member WMW Jamaica
24. Nadeen Spence
25. Nicole A. Brown, Environment and Development Specialist
26. Oberlene Smith, DV Trainer and Advocate
27. Patricia Donald Phillips, member WMW Jamaica
28. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth (Rev). , CEO, Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation
29. Paulette Bell Kerr, Educator, mental health advocate
30. Phyllis A. Green PhD, Women’s Rights Advocate
31. Nicola Ashwood (Rev)
32. Rosalea Hamilton, Human Rights Advocate
33. Rosemarie Thomas, JP, HR Specialist, mental health advocate,
34. Rosemary Francis-Binder, Diaspora, Educator, Human Rights Advocate
35. Sherene H. Razack, Ph.D, Professor, Gender Studies, UCLA
36. Shirley A. Campbell, Development Specialist/Project Management
37. Shirnett Bailey, Gender Advocate, Diaspora
38. Sidonie Morrison-Donald DePass, Retired Matron, Spanish Town Hospital
39. Tsarita Nkrumah, CEO TMN Consulting $ Associates Limited.
40. Vanda Radzik – Women’s Rights and Environmental Justice, Guyana
41. Wendy A Lee, UK