'I was not the one'
Opposition Senator Lambert Brown yesterday scoffed at claims being made on social media that he is the person referred to by Government Senator Kamina Johnson Smith as the legislator who had harassed her via e-mail.
“Mi nuh mind that. If I don’t go in the fowl pen, I am clean. Nothing is on mi body and mi clothes. What people think about whether I was the one is of no moment to me, because I know I was not the one. So little they know, but that’s how social media is; they don’t speak the truth all the time, but I’m used to that,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.
“I have no concerns about allegations that are made. My back broad. I have no such concerns. Since I know the facts, I have no such concerns. It only reflects on the ignorance of those who want to insinuate that it is me. Their insinuation comes from ignorance or hatred. Fi mi shoulder broad. That a di least,” he added.
Last Friday during a heated debate on domestic violence in the Upper House, Johnson Smith spoke of receiving harassing e-mail from someone on the Opposition side of the chamber.
She did not say when the e-mail were sent, but yesterday a police source confirmed that the constabulary investigated the matter in 2018.
But Brown, who yesterday said Johnson Smith should make the e-mail public, was making reference to an e-mail thread, dated October 31, 2014, that he saw but which, he said, were never directed to Johnson Smith who, at the time, was an Opposition senator.
“I’m aware that in 2014 there was an effort to explain the issue of the so-called ‘flexi-rape’ comment among some senators, and there was an e-mail thread. In that thread, at least two members of the then Opposition were included. One person who was not on that thread is Kamina Johnson Smith. So, it is not true to say any e-mail was sent to her,” Brown told the Observer.
Then Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator AJ Nicholson, was reprimanded in October 2014 for describing then Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte’s explanation of the need to limit working hours for women for fear of rape as “flexi-rape”.
Yesterday, Brown said of the 2014 e-mail: “I also know there was no harassment of any individual that was contained in those e-mail, and that is why those who are now saying that the e-mail were harassing and sent to them should produce that evidence. It is not about freeing me. It is about the public knowing the truth. And me being on the thread doesn’t mean that I comment. It just meant that I received the e-mail,” he contended.
“Somehow, the matter went to the commissioner of police, and the commissioner sent an officer to speak with the senator. Nothing came of it. I know that no such harassment was made. None whatsoever. In 2014, the Cybercrimes Act was not in place. So no police could tell her to press charge under the Cybercrimes Act, because that law was passed in 2015,” he said.
“To the extent that she tells the Senate that e-mail was sent to her from a Government senator then, she has a duty to produce such e-mail. To the best of my knowledge – I was on that thread, I saw those e-mail – none was sent to Kamina Johnson Smith. It might have been brought to her attention by probably one of her colleagues on the thread,” he said.