Sunday Brew – May 30, 2021

The matter that involves Dr Dayton Campbell

The dirt continues in what purports to be a defence in a civil matter by Karen Cross against Dr Dayton Campbell, the general secretary of the People’s National Party (PNP).

The matter has not yet gone before a judge of the Supreme Court, but there has been lengthy, useless discussion on it, and verdicts already handed down, which cannot be healthy.

In all my years of following politics, I have never seen anything like this – an attack directed at a man without the requisite supporting evidence. I looked at one document, thought to be an affidavit, and knew that there was something fishy going on.

The names of the girls who were said to have been involved in inappropriate sexual contact with Dr Campbell were supposedly marked out, and therefore were not visible. It left me to wonder whether names were scribbled there anyway, which would no doubt require an investigation.

So, as things look, no one knows who the people are, and everything is now based on speculation and hearsay. The language used is highly questionable, too, and the individual who is said to have signed it, a justice of the peace, we have been led to believe, did not affix a seal.

We have had serious cases of sexual misconduct in Jamaica, and this is not an attempt to cover up anything. But in a matter such as this one, care must be shown to ensure that justice is precise.

Dr Campbell is one of the strongest men that I know. Maybe it’s a Campbell thing, because there is another Campbell, of the John variety from St Mary, who has had to undergo teasing of the worst kind growing up with a skin condition, and has gone on to represent Jamaica and the West Indies at cricket, though his returns have not been so glowing.

But I digress.

The big question now is, in the case of Dr Campbell, will the judge who is assigned to hear the matter admit Ms Cross’s assertions as part of the case?

People have even gone ahead and compared the matter involving Dr Campbell with the George Wright affair – the embattled Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central. But there should be no comparison whatsoever. One matter will soon be heard by the court. The other involves a man beating the hell out of a woman. The Speaker of the House of Representatives has granted leave of absence to one individual – Wright. Had he not been alleged to be a star of that video show, would he have been given leave to go on a twomonth break to have a ball?

A call from head of National Integrity Action, Professor Trevor Munroe, for Dr Campbell to step aside as general secretary, has found favour with PNP executive member Dr Floyd Morris and others in the party, including its four vice-presidents – Dr Wykeham McNeill, Damion Crawford, Phillip Paulwell, and Mikael Phillips, as well as deputy chairman Horace Dalley – all behaving like wimps because of last year’s presidential election loss by the candidate whom they backed – Lisa Hanna.

Munroe, more than anyone else, should know all about how people go about trying to taint others. He suffered while he served as head of the Workers’ Party of Jamaica, the University and Allied Workers Union, and as senior university lecturer. And while people were uttering all kinds of untrue things about him, he maintained his positions.

People can say all they want, and may even want to visit the hardware store to find a bit of rope that fits my neck, but what has been happening to Dr Campbell, so far, is nothing short of disgusting, and that disgust is also being fuelled in a most vulgar way by members of his own party. Shame on them all!

Schoolboy sport, education and the constitution

It has been accepted in high schools across Jamaica, but how many athletes, or their parents would be interested in testing the rule that the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has in respect of how transferred students should be managed?

Now, if a student is below sixth form, or 12th grade, he or she is not allowed to transfer from one school to another unless he or she sits out a year in which that student cannot represent the new school in any sport.

That is an elitist position, and I am pretty sure that it is not constitutional. It would be interesting to see the outcome of the first matter to be tested by the court.

ISSA needs to understand that the world has gone through, and continues to undergo, a paradigm shift. In past years, academic work would be the only thing to go after. And while academics are vitally important, there are other areas of life that attention needs to be shown.

Take for instance the business of sport – this is the fastest growing industry globally, and Jamaica must encourage the talented many who participate. If you are as dunce as ‘Ruckoo Beng’, a career based on deep academic work is not for you. There are people out there who will not make it as engineers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, agriculturalists or nurses. Included among those are people whose promise in football, cricket, athletics, boxing, netball, basketball and others cannot be ignored.

So if a young man who attends Ascot High School, for example, wants to attend Jamaica College, Wolmer’s, Calabar or Kingston College where he can get better guidance in his quest to become a professional footballer or track athlete, why sentence him to a year in the stands? It cannot be right.

PNP and its junior shadow Cabinet

Last week, suggestions were made to me that some members of the People’s National Party shadow Cabinet were made aware of the junior shadow Cabinet appointments by way of the media on the day that it was announced, or the night before in other cases.

I have since got hold of hard evidence which shows that is not true, and all members of the shadow Cabinet were informed about the formation of the collective of junior voices following party President Mark Golding’s earlier pledge last November to have one up and running.

In fact, I got proof last week of correspondence sent to all members of the shadow Cabinet, and the juniors, of a Zoom meeting on April 26. The junior shadow appointments were announced on May 10.

My comments, too, that I understand that Lisa Hanna did not know about the person who is shadowing her, one Christopher Henry, and if that were true it would be a poor reflection on the party, turned out not to be so. The evidence showed that Hanna was in communication with Henry, and they even collaborated in the structuring of his statement on Palestine. So, again, mischief is at work.

Golding is not a man who craves the media limelight, so getting an interview from him would be harder than normal. But that’s his style. However, I would love to have a chat with the good gentleman, someone I respect to the core, despite my view that he spends too much time behind the scenes, just to find out, from his perspective, what the obstacles are.

He faces a daunting task of uniting a party that does not want to be united. It’s a party filled with elements who refuse to accept the result of a clean internal election held last November.

As party president, Golding has only one voice of support on the eight-member list of Opposition senators – his close friend Peter Bunting; he has only four people in the 14-team Opposition members in the House of Representatives whom it is believed will fight with him, at least, up to a certain point on the gruelling journey – Angela Brown Burke, Julian Robinson, Anthony Hylton, and Hugh Graham.

Many members of the officer corps are also not with him, so how can Golding then proceed to mend the fence? And is it really worth it? Golding is a wealthy man, he has never been involved in any ‘mix-up and blender’, ‘cass cass’, scandal, and his family history and background are close to ideal. So with all the dirt being thrown into the political ring, why would someone, who some of us see as having the potential to make a difference and erase the stigma of State corruption, want to go further in this messy situation?

He should answer that.

Living it up, Jamaica style

When will Jamaicans learn? Again, the police have been forced to arrest people – in Clarendon at the start of last week – for breaching curfew, and now we hear of pending arrests for an event that was held in Negril last Thursday.

Are people that desperate to socialise? Imagine, Jamaica, like elsewhere, is in the midst of a pandemic that has been held responsible for the deaths of millions around the world. Measures are introduced to protect the citizens of this country, which requires them to set aside some of their accustomed behaviour, until conditions improve. But, no. People continue to defy the regulations.

In the Clarendon incident, the police said that around 60 people were arrested at a dance/party that had over 200 in attendance. Now, why would I want to attend an event at which I have to be looking over my shoulder every two minutes to see if the police are coming, not only to shut off the music, discard the food and liquor, but drag me off to jail if I am not as fast as Antonio Watson without an imaginary gun?

It cannot be that bad that the people of this country cannot continue to make a sacrifice by staying away from the party firing line in the huge numbers that they have been turning out, and just wait until the pandemic changes its state.

And, as news emerged later in the week of an unsanctioned musical ‘bangarang’ in Negril called Mocha Fest, which tourism officials have declared ignorance about, again, the question must be asked: What’s happening? Sometimes holding events with limited numbers may not be all bad, but if the people involved at least wore masks it would not be so bad. But that has not been happening, and it is sad, so sad

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