FORMER Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade AJ Nicholson has denied a report by Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith that he sent her threatening e-mail in 2018.
Nicholson also denied harassing Johnson Smith.
The former People’s National Party senator, in a statement sent to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, said: “No harassment or threatening emails exist from me to the senator or to anyone else. Neither was I warned in 2018 by any member of the constabulary force. It is not true.”
On Friday, Johnson Smith read a statement in the Upper House alluding to e-mail she said Nicholson sent harassing and threatening her.
She said that the police corroborated their existence and had assessed that, based on the information, she had reason to be concerned about them.
However, the minister said that she decided against taking the matter further.
She first mentioned the matter last month during a sitting of the Senate amid discussions surrounding a viral video showing a man beating a woman. Government Member of Parliament (MP) George Wright has been accused of being the man in the video, but Wright has neither denied nor confirmed that he’s the man in the video.
“She has now, for the second time within a few weeks, made statements in the Senate with such claims, when all she has to do is to release the referenced emails for all Jamaica to judge. Jamaicans must have full confidence in the truthfulness and trustworthiness of their foreign minister, who really ought to be busy,” Nicholson said in the statement.
In an August 6, 2018 e-mail sent by Nicholson and seen by the Sunday Observer, he referenced an article that questioned whether or not the Andrew Holness-led Government had been stained by corruption.
He said he was not surprised by the article.
“What has led me to this settled position? I assure you that it has nothing whatsoever to do with a gleeful Opposition senator – how could you ever forget – mercilessly calling me out for a sotto voce, mumbling suggestion of flexi rape, from my seat, in the Senate? For that, my sincere, much-heralded public apology was, of course, to be fully forthcoming, with an acknowledged resonating presentation, on my feet, from the floor of the Senate chamber.
“It is not even because Horace Chang caused a most scurrilous, lying article to be written about me in the Sunday Gleaner. You would have every reason to remember that utterly unkind ‘caveman’ reference, wouldn’t you? – causing so much hurtful embarrassment to my family, and for which neither he nor anyone else in your party has ever apologised.
“There are two reasons, among others, for any lack of surprise on my part,” Nicholson said in the e-mail.
He said Holness “in one of his usual senseless displays of a complete lack of good judgement, chose to elevate three proven public liars” to high positions in Jamaica’s system of Government in the Cabinet and the legislature.
In the e-mail, Nicholson also accused the then Opposition of welcoming at the Norman Manley International Airport “a deportee who had been convicted for raping a young girl in her very early teens”, and immediately afterwards attending a press conference held with the deportee.
“All this, without a scintilla of apology and, hypocritically, at the time, not a word from you, mindful of the all too recent loud calling out of Flexi Rape!” he said in the e-mail to Johnson Smith seen by the Observer.
“As I say, there are other reasons, but for me, these two will forever live in the album of my memory, for they strike at the very heart of the integrity of the kind of stewardship and the rigour and standard that our practice of governance should attain to, and indeed enjoy,” added Nicholson.
“I’m well aware of your party’s mantra these days of ‘bad mind’, but the portents are that it is going to get much worse… You have all sown far too many bad seeds! Mark my word, just kotch, watch and behold …KARMA!” he said.
Last month, a police source confirmed to the Sunday Observer that Johnson Smith was being sexually harassed by an Opposition senator.
The source said that an investigation was launched into the incident which involved detectives assigned to the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Criminal Investigation Branch and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse.
But Nicholson, who flatly denied such events, said Johnson Smith was not the only person in leadership as [a] minister in the Jamaica Labour Party he had engaged in like manner by text, WhatsApp or e-mail.
“No question of harassment or threat. The senator speaks of an e-mail entitled ‘Rape, Real Rape’. I cannot find it, no matter how much I have searched on my device. But I have no doubt that I would have sent one such, for that is the very core of my query. How come you had called me out so loudly about flexi rape… but maintained a sepulchral silence when it came to your colleagues brushing aside issues that had to do with real rape.
“If the senator is speaking truthfully, why not simply release the referenced e-mail, the source of her claim of harassment and feelings of threat? She says they were sent some three years ago. What is her intention in making this claim at this time of the MP beating a woman? What inference is to be drawn from this refusal or reluctance on her part to allow the public to examine the e-mail themselves? And even from what she has said in her two recent statements, where does it point to any harassment?
“I repeat, I have never threatened or harassed the senator or anyone. My conscience is clear, I sleep well at nights, and sometimes even in the daytime. I have never been accused of lying and I have no intention of starting now in these my golden years,” he ended.