Dr Dayton Campbell is between a rock and a hard placeTuesday, June 01, 2021
People's National Party (PNP) President Mr Mark Golding has firmly hitched his wagon to that of General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell, who has been well and truly plunged into a blistering sex scandal allegedly involving under-age girls.
Clearly, Mr Golding believes implicitly in the innocence of his right-hand man, and is even willing to risk his political career should, God forbid, it turn out that Dr Campbell is culpable in the accusations made against him by PNP member Ms Karen Cross.
Going by the public discourse so far, Dr Campbell's protestations of innocence — in this #MeToo movement era — have largely fallen on deaf ears, especially because there is such a preponderance of sexual abuse of women.
The issue is also being coloured by two overriding events: Firstly, the still bitter division in the PNP, a carry-over from last year's nasty leadership campaign to replace Dr Peter Phillips for the presidency of the party.
The people who supported Dr Phillips, and who feel that he was hard done by Dr Campbell in the lead-up to his decision to step down are not unhappy to see the general secretary on the back foot. It is conceivable that some of them may even be fanning the flames of discord.
Secondly, Dr Campbell is being painted with the same brush as was used against the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central Mr George Wright, who is yet to deny that he was the man seen brutally beating a woman in a video that went viral in April this year.
The winds from the heavy weather made by the PNP over the Wright matter have come back to haunt the party, which called vehemently for the removal of the JLP politician, and went on to propose legislation for impeachment — which, by the way, we support — for wrongdoing by parliamentarians.
While Mr Wright is on leave from his party and ostensibly the Parliament, Dr Campbell is adamant that he has done nothing wrong and would not be stepping aside from his general secretary duties when no evidence has been presented against him.
He and his supporters, including party leader Mr Golding, have also pointed to court affidavits filed by Ms Cross, with the names of three co-accusers blacked out, leading him to question their identities and the veracity of their claims.
Dr Campbell also rejects as a false equivalency, comparisons between his issue and that of Mr Wright, who has not declared his innocence in the case of the video beating, even as police dropped their investigation, saying neither him nor the woman were co-operating.
The question facing Dr Campbell is, should he step aside and allow the cloud over his reputation to dissipate. In this, we suggest, he is between a rock and a hard place. Should he continue to refuse to step down, he and his party will be seen as practising double standard. If, however, he does, there are bound to be some who see that as an admission of guilt.
We in this space believe that it is in the interest of Dr Campbell and the PNP that he should put aside his public duties as general secretary and concentrate fully on clearing his name. Otherwise, he risks leaving this cloud hanging over his head and a question sign over his integrity well into the future.
Indeed, it is a difficult choice because this is not part of our political culture. But if he is innocent, Dr Campbell will emerge the better for it.
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