Politics
JM | Apr 20, 2021

Dayton Campbell: Caught in the cross hairs of abuse accusations, but where’s the evidence?

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

administrator
Dr Dayton Campbell

After conducting investigations into lurid abuse claims against People’s National Party (PNP) General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) found no basis to allegations made by Karen Cross.

The JCF issued a statement that read: “Although a formal statement was given by Ms Cross, she provided no evidence to substantiate the claims that she made, nor was she able to provide any person interested in making a complaint against Dr Campbell.”

Dr Dayton Campbell has a bright political future ahead of him and he will no doubt play a pivotal role in reshaping what is now a beleaguered PNP. He is energetic and is known to speak straight, no chaser.

Capable, forthright, loyal, this incident threatened to derail his standing in the party and remove him from the political arena. His career in the medical profession would have come under severe pressure.

(Image: issat.dcaf.ch)

In this febrile atmosphere of gender animosity, one has to be carefully. You have to conduct yourself in such a way that there cannot be a whiff of impropriety. The days of joking and racy comments are over because in this #MeToo era your world can be cancelled.

 There is mounting concern that women in Jamaica today feel under siege, with their safety threatened. Over the last few weeks, horrific abuses have been brought to the public’s attention. Social media is the vehicle by which condemnation is trumpeted. It is also the platform by which a plethora of accusations are made.

Dr Dayton Campbell has had to endure a torrid time with his reputation and behaviour under scrutiny.

It is a salutary lesson. One has to be vigilant and not allow a scintilla of scandal to be weaponised and used to destroy what has taken years to build.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. (File Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool via REUTERS)

Andrew Cuomo now finds himself in a predicament where women are upon him like a pack of lions bringing down a Cape buffalo. He has denied all allegations and said that his behaviour and attempts at jest may have been misconstrued.

In today’s world you cannot take the risk of being too familiar and attempting jovial banter that can upend you. It’s just not worth it. It is a sorry state of affairs with the schism between men and women and the level of toxicity set to get even more divisive.

I recently  was speaking with a news executive in Chicago who told me that he does not hire women who are considered attractive for fear of sexual harassment claims and HR issues which only serve to unsettle the work place.

“ But isn’t that in itself unfair and discriminatory?”

“Maybe, but it is safer. Why run the risk? You’ve got women running to social media and making claims that don’t allow you to objectively assess the situation and come to a conclusion that is best for the company. You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to put out fires and finding ways to financially settle claims. Why take that on?”

INDICTMENT ON THE TIMES

His reasoning was an indictment on the times. Comments on mode of dress, make-up, relationships, topical issues should come with a disclaimer. A hand on the shoulder or what can be deemed as unwanted physical contact could be to your detriment.

 U.S. empowerment website, Leanin.org revealed the findings of a survey in 2019 that 60 per cent of American male managers were uncomfortable interacting with women at work – that’s 30 per cent up on 2018’s figure.

It also revealed that men are nervous about mentoring, socialising and having one-on-one meetings with women.

A particular eyebrow raiser from Leanin.org is that senior executives are nine times more hesitant to travel with a woman for work and six times more hesitant to have a work dinner, following the #MeToo movement and the torrent of harassment accusations.

Women should not be subjected to harassment, abuse and assaults and men who engage in doing so should be exposed and brought to justice. For too long many women have had to suffer in silence in fear of the consequences of pointing the finger at their abusers.

But it cannot be that a man’s reputation can be sullied with unfounded allegations and his life ruined by unsubstantiated claims made on social media.

These were serious allegations made against Dr Dayton Campbell and the onus is on his accusers to prove it. It’s easy to go on social media and say whatever you want but one must be mindful to provide evidence, present the facts. Let it not be said that you tell lies and spread rumours.

It’s not good enough to say, “I heard this,” or “he made me feel uncomfortable,” “I thought he was coming onto me.”

Concrete evidence must be presented, and the facts must be irrefutable to support such accusations. You have to be cognizant of causing irreparable damage to someone’s name when it is unwarranted.

These were serious allegations made against Dr Dayton Campbell and the onus is on his accusers to prove it. It’s easy to go on social media and say whatever you want but one must be mindful to provide evidence, present the facts. Let it not be said that you tell lies and spread rumours.

KAREN CROSS HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR

The PNP has said that Karen Cross has a lot to answer for and some have said that she should be censured. What the PNP and John Junor must now do is conduct its very own investigation into the matter and reveal its findings.

Asked to present evidence of her accusations, Karen Cross is reported to have said: “I wouldn’t make them kind of allegations without having some kind of evidence to back it up, would I?”

Anisah Ahmed (left) and Iqbal Mohammed.

So back it up. Let’s see it. If you can’t, issue an apology and allow Dr Dayton Campbell to move on and hope that he forgives you without legal redress.

The case of the English barrister Anisah Ahmed, aged 33, was brought to my attention and how a man’s life can be possibly ruined by unsubstantiated accusations leveled at him on social media.

Ahmed met fellow barrister Iqbal Mohammed on LinkedIn and began an affair with him soon after, unaware that he was married. When reality dawned, she began an orchestrated campaign against him on social media, accusing him of rape. It was an attempt to destroy him both professionally and personally.

At her trial and before sentencing, Judge Gledhill Q.C. said: “Your actions, Ms Ahmed were malicious, even evil. You persisted with them over a prolonged period of time.

“False allegations can have dreadful consequences on an innocent person who has committed no crime. Being wrongly accused of harassment is serious enough. But accusing him of rape is quite another category.”

Be careful out there. 

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