PNP stands firm behind Dayton
People’s National Party (PNP) executive members emerged from a more-than-two-hour meeting yesterday standing firmly behind embattled General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell.
“The party stands firm in support of our general secretary as we await the outcome of the police investigation in relation to the three documents,” the PNP said in a mid-afternoon release in response to reports which broke on Tuesday that one of its activists, Karen Cross, had filed documents in the Supreme Court which included statements from three woman who alleged that Campbell had sexual relationships with them while they were minors.
Cross was responding to a defamation suit filed against her, and others, by lawyers representing Campbell following the posting of allegations against him on social media and letters sent to some PNP executive members.
On Wednesday, there were indications from within the PNP that party executives were split on how to respond to the damning allegations against Dr Campbell, who was not the unanimous choice for general secretary when he was elected to the post. But yesterday they closed ranks.
“The party has noted the recent spate of unsubstantiated allegations made against our general secretary, Dr Dayton Campbell, by a member of our party, and wishes to reiterate our unwavering position on the issue of gender-based violence,” the PNP said in a news release.
“We condemn violence against women and children in all forms. We must all make every effort to ensure that our women and children are protected from harm, violence and abuse. In particular, we note that it is a legal obligation to report sexual crimes against children to the responsible authorities whenever it comes to our attention. Failure to do so is a criminal offence,” the party added.
The PNP noted that when the allegations were first made in April this year, Campbell rejected them as baseless and filed a civil suit for damages caused to his reputation and defamation of his character.
“The party immediately referred the matter to the police, who launched an investigation and determined that the allegations were baseless and unsubstantiated,” the PNP noted.
It further underscored that the statements attached to the document Cross filed in the Supreme Court were redacted with the names of the people who purportedly signed them marked out.
“There are also other striking anomalies affecting those documents, which collectively undermine their credibility. We note that Dr Campbell has urged the police to investigate all the circumstances relating to those three documents, the PNP said, and noted that Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey was reported in yesterday’s Jamaica Observer as saying that investigators are not, at this time, considering reopening an investigation into the accuser’s allegations.
Bailey, though, had added that if there is anyone who can assist the police, the police would be prepared to reopen the investigation.
The PNP said it wants the police to investigate fully the circumstances behind the three documents, including the accuser and the St Andrew justices of the peace who purported to witness signatures on the documents but failed to report the matter to the police.
“It is clear that what has emerged in this matter fails to meet any reasonable standard of credibility that would make it right and proper for our general secretary to step back from his office. It cannot be right that individuals who are self-avowedly pursuing a political agenda can be allowed to achieve their objectives simply by making vile and unsupported accusations against senior officeholders. That would be a rogue’s charter,” said the PNP.
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