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NO FAVOURS FROM GOLDING, SAYS CAMPBELL

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Dr Dayton Campbell has moved to bury rumours that abound about his association with People’s National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding.

Dr Campbell, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for St Ann North Western, has dismissed whispers that he is being endorsed for general secretary of the PNP by Golding, because he backed the now Opposition leader in the heated leadership contest against St Ann South Eastern MP Lisa Hanna.

Dr Campbell led the leadership campaign for the St Andrew Southern MP, which resulted in Hanna’s 1,444 to 1,740 loss on November 7.

Medical practitioner and lawyer Campbell stressed that he is not declaring himself as the only Comrade worthy of the post, but that the successful campaign he ran for Golding speaks for itself and the resultant synergy between himself and the Opposition leader would be beneficial to the general secretary’s position and the party.

“I don’t believe for a second that Comrade Golding is only thinking about loyalty in thinking about the position. It is a critical position in the party. I think being an intellectual individual he has considered all of the variables; he knows my work ethic, I managed his campaign, I managed another campaign last year, they’ve seen the energy, they have seen me in group meetings in the constituency, they know that I am somebody that possesses the organisational skills, the strategic skills,” Campbell told the Jamaica Observer at the weekend.

His declared rivals so far are fellow Comrades Raymond Pryce, and former PNP caretaker for St Andrew West Rural, attorney-at-law Jennifer Housen.

Pryce supported Dr Peter Phillips’s “One PNP” campaign, which faced off with then Manchester Central MP Peter Bunting, in a challenge turned ugly, for the leadership of the party. Pryce, who had committed to an interview with the Observer, could not be reached yesterday.

According to Pryce, a former MP for St Elizabeth North Eastern, he has put himself up for the job at the request of party officers, executive members, other National Executive Council (NEC) members, and delegates.

St Andrew South Eastern MP Julian Robinson vacated the post following the PNP’s staggering defeat at the polls, which saw the Jamaica Labour Party claiming 49 of 63 seats in Parliament. The PNP took the other 14.

Dr Campbell, who lost his bid for a third term in the September 3 General Election against the JLP’s Krystal Lee, assured that he plans to make the demanding post of general secretary a full-time job.

“I’m transitioning out of the constituency. I also will not be working in a hospital, I may do a session or two just to keep my medical skills current but I will be in the gen sec work full time…I’m fully committed and I think most people within the party are fully aware of the skills set that I possess, the energy that I possess, and that I will put out all the energy to ensure that the PNP is competitive and win the next election,” he outlined.

Dr Campbell has been criticised by some for being brash, and even chided by Golding for recent utterances on the campaign trail. He admitted he was wrong, but said the political arena is a learning process.

“It is something that has befallen not only myself but a lot of the young persons that have come to the political process…I am quite sure that persons will admit that we have had some of our younger persons speaking out of turn at times, it is true that it has happened with me, I make no excuse to try to justify the behaviour (I have) tried to change and adapt to the space I am in,” he acknowledged, adding that this is one of the reasons he will be pushing for a mentorship and orientation programme in the party.

“Because I’m a successful doctor doesn’t mean that you automatically know how to succeed in politics, and that’s why it is important for an orientation programme for persons who are coming in,” he said, pointing to the differences between his conduct in the Bunting campaign and that of Golding’s.

“We were successful and I believe that it shows growth in how I conducted myself this year compared to last year,” he remarked.

He stressed that he is the man for the job, given his organising and strategising skills, and having managed a constituency for the past nine years, he has a sharp eye for numbers as it has to do with enumeration and canvassing.

“I have the passion to do what it is to get the job done, and I believe also, from managing the campaign for Comrade Golding for president, that we developed a close relationship and we work well together and I believe going forward that it will be a good combination for the PNP,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Dr Campbell insisted that he has no issues with anyone in the party and enjoys a cordial relationship with all fellow Comrades. “I think individuals have tried to paint a picture to say otherwise, but there is no evidence to support that. I enjoy a working relationship with all of them. I wouldn’t like to be the person in the party who says I can’t work with them. I can work with anyone,” he said, pointing out that whatever conflict there may have been with anyone in the past is now “of historical value only”.

“I don’t think that will affect me doing my job at all. At the end of the day what I will bring to the post is a lot of energy, a lot of organisation, and strategic thinking that will only accrue to [the party] having a better chance of being victorious,” he stated.

Dr Campbell believes there is hope for the PNP in the upcoming Local Government Election. “We have to check where we are with our candidates, and find out their various states of readiness. We have already developed the tools for that readiness so we can know where we are, [and] what is needed to hold the divisions that we do have now and to be competitive in the others so that we can take a few of them,” he said.

He said the party is aware of the challenge it faces, but is undaunted. “One thing is for sure is that the process is going to be data-driven and evidence-based.

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