Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith has raised a firestorm after leveling accusations of harassment, purported to have taken place in emails, but has yet to show evidence to substantiate her claims.
The senator says she had reported the matter to the police, but has now allowed unnamed sources to release their own version of the emails of which she has spoken.
Now this is puzzling coming from an attorney known for a good reputation. However, it is not as clear as it seems, dimmed by the opaqueness of politics and the current febrile environment of abuse suffered by many Jamaican women which has led to widespread public outcry.
Kamina Johnson Smith is a smart politician who may in a few years’ time be elevated to become deputy prime minister, provided she can score success by winning a seat. Her calculus may very well be to draw away the fire away from the Government caused by the George Wright imbroglio, a situation where the Administration has not demonstrated sure footedness. If this is her M.O. then indeed it is a touch of genius because it sublimates the issue of women abused by JLP parliamentarians and puts the spotlight on misdeeds by PNP stalwarts.
The finger has been pointed at former Attorney General AJ Nicholson, a political warrior known for his forthrightness and stridency. He is absolutely right when he demands that the Minister of Foreign Affairs who sits in the Senate, and succeeded him in both that portfolio and as leader of government business, produce the evidence that categorically supports her claim.
If you pull the trigger with intent, then pull the trigger – there is no overthinking about it or making it a passive/aggressive gesture.
Women should not be harassed and abused and there is a particular unsavouriness when it comes from men, whom one would have thought know better. Men who indulge in this heinous behaviour should be rightfully called out – unequivocally.
Kamina Johnson Smith is the epitome of graciousness and diplomacy and does not exhibit a willingness to go mano-a-mano. She isn’t going to get those well-manicured nails dirty in a political scrap.
At this time, women across Jamaica are looking to personages such as herself to champion their cause, give voice to wrongdoings they are unable to. Therefore it is incumbent upon her to be declarative, provide the unvarnished truth of the matter.
Her reasoning for not doing so?
Well, in her own words: “I decided not to go public with it and it was a struggle because I said this could be helpful for women to see someone taking an action when they feel vulnerable… me saying if I feel vulnerable, imagine someone who doesn’t have the kind of support (that) I have around me that I do.”
That’s precisely why you should go all the way!
She continued: “I thought about the politics and the drama and I didn’t. So, for whatever other reasons I didn’t, and I didn’t consider myself a disempowered woman. I just recognise that we need more systems in place to support women who need it.”
Noble, yes. Her father, the late Anthony Johnson, himself a refined politician and accomplished diplomat, would be proud of that kind of response.
But politics is a gladiatorial blood sport. When you aim, you look to take down your adversary, there’s no nice way about it, Kamina.
Now you are left with people looking for the answer to the question, why don’t you release the emails and put this matter to bed once and for all? Nail your colours to the mast.
Senator Donna Scott-Mottley said it best and said it very well.
“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.”