Friday 4 December, 2020

How Dayton Campbell’s political house came crumbling down in NW St Ann

Dr Dayton Campbell

Dr Dayton Campbell

Ousted North West St Ann Member of Parliament (MP), Dr Dayton Campbell, has shared some of the details he believed significantly influenced his failed bid to retain the seat in Parliament after two terms in office.

Among other factors, he pointed to minimal financial support from the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) as having hurt his chances of retaining the seat in the September 3, 2020 polls.

While speaking recently at a meeting in support of PNP presidential contender, Mark Golding, Campbell disclosed the plight he faced in the election campaign.

He went up against not only the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Krystal Lee, but also an independent candidate in the form of Peter Shand, a former influential PNP supporter.

The latter, Campbell claimed, attracted some of the persons he (Campbell) assisted during his last term in office before losing to Lee in the recent polls.

Campbell stated that he conducted some 1,500 free medicals for constituents, and offered free skills training opportunities to 3,600 persons, and also assisted persons to attaining passes in CSEC subjects.

But he said that did not prove to be enough to win the support of some of these constituents.

Speaking directly to Golding at the meeting, Campbell said: "... and Comrade Golding, an independent (candidate) came into the race, (who was) a PNP... and ah campaign say (it) 'Sweetah with Peter (Shand)' and, to my surprise, some of the people who benefit from the medicals and the skills training, a si dem in yellow say dem working for 'Sweetah with Peter (Shand)’."

The 'Sweetah with' campaign slogan was apparently a takeaway from the 'Sweetah with Lisa' slogan in South East St Ann, where Golding's presidential rival, Lisa Hanna, with whom Campbell has had a strained political relationship for some time, was herself seeking to retain her seat in Gordon House. 


'Sweetah with Peter' (Shand) in North West St Ann. 

Campbell claimed that the individuals whose support had swayed in NW St Ann, were being compensated to hand out voters' cards, which he seemingly could not afford.

"I never offer a dollar fi hand out none. It's just the reality," Campbell stated bluntly.

Shand secured 790 votes in the polls, which was, however, far less than Lee’s margin of victory of 2,106 votes over Campbell. Lee and Campbell secured 7,846 and 5,740 votes, respectively.

Earlier at the meeting, Campbell said in the recent general election cycle, he received less money from the PNP to fund his campaign than he did back in 2011, despite inflation since then.

He stressed that during Mark Golding's tenure as the party’s treasurer in 2011, he (Campbell) he received more money for campaigning from the PNP. He later went on to win the seat in the 2011 General Elections.

"It means that the man (Mark Golding) can raise some money," Campbell argued.

Campbell repeated his stance that the party must have a leader who is widely respected in the society and can raise funds for the organisation. 

"I am having a conversation that the party must have a leader that is respected in the society, so that he can raise money so that North West St Ann can get some, so East Central St Catherine can get some, so South East St Catherine can get some, so South St Catherine can get some, so that we can organise and do what we do so we can win Government," Campbell posited.

He said despite some in the party disagreeing that money is critically important in election campaigning, the realities have proven otherwise.

He elaborated that, "When we (PNP candidates) go out there and we have billboards to put up, comrades say dem want a little ting fi put up the billboards. When we go out there a canvass the vote, comrades say dem want a little ting fi guh canvass because the sun hot.

"When we go out there and we want them to enumerate, the people dem say dem want a little ting fi carry dem (presumed to be transportation, refreshment etc) guh up ah electoral office guh get dem enumerated.

"When it comes to Election Day, dem say dem want a car fi drive (and) carry people; dem want car fi rent and di car want gas. Den ah what a guh pay fi dat? Money is going to pay for it, so the party needs a leader who can raise money for the party," Campbell drummed home his point.

He said anyone who disagreed with his analysis was "not speaking the truth because all of us here understands fully well that in order for you to organise and mobilise and do what you're supposed to do, it requires some money to do that."

But he clarified that "There ain't no suggestion that it is only money people should run the party. Nobody is saying that."

Golding, the South St Andrew Member of Parliament (MP), is to square off with Hanna in the November 7 PNP presidential election.

The internal leadership poll was called following PNP President and Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips' announcement of his intended resignation from the positions following the party being thrashed in the September 3 polls.

The JLP won 49 seats to the PNP's 14.

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