More heat on Dayton

PEOPLE’S National Party (PNP) General Secretary Dayton Campbell is in more hot water after two members of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) on Friday warned that, unless he settles, they will be suing him for defamation.

Campbell is facing allegations of defamation for comments he made at a political meeting in Clarendon last month and has already been slapped with a defamation lawsuit by Government Minister Daryl Vaz.

Now lawyers representing Member of Parliament (MP) for St Thomas Western James Robertson and former MP for St Ann North Western Othniel Lawrence have written to Campbell seeking retractions and financial compensation because of his comments, or he risks being sued.

In its letter to Campbell, the law firm of Alexander Williams and Company says Lawrence has indicated that, at a political meeting in July, Campbell made statements that were “false, malicious, and defamatory” and “caused irreparable harm to our client’s character”.

The law firm added, “Our client has built up an enviable reputation over the years as a leading civil servant in Jamaica and business professional. Our client has served as Member of Parliament of North West St Ann as well as minister of state in the Ministry of Transport and Works. He has had memberships on several parliamentary committees and sat on various boards of government. Our client also has an established reputation in the business community as an entrepreneur for several entities.

“He, therefore, has had and continues to maintain an enviable reputation in the financial and business sectors. As a participant in the Jamaican political and business space, it is of utmost importance that our client maintains a character of high public standing and his integrity above reproach.”

According to the law firm, Campbell’s statements have caused “much embarrassment and distress to our client as the statement serves to lower the esteem of our client within the public’s eyes. Given the foregoing, our client has a strong claim for damages against you for defamation”.

The letter demands a public apology from Campbell to be broadcast over the public traditional and social media and damages of $15 million plus initial legal costs of $250,000.

“Failure to comply within 24 hours to issue a public apology in terms to be agreed and to agree payment will result in our filing of a claim in the Supreme Court of Jamaica on our client’s behalf against you without any further reference to you,” the law firm warned Campbell.

“We, therefore, demand that you immediately withdraw your statement and issue a public apology to be broadcasted over the said public media outlets which will be acceptable to our client. You are also to pay him damages as well as legal costs incurred by him to date, the sum total of which we will make known to you. Failure to comply within 24 hours to issue a public apology in the terms as set out will result in our filing of a claim in the Supreme Court of Jamaica,” the law firm said on behalf of Robertson.

Last week, lawyers representing Vaz — who is the minister of science, energy, telecommunications and transport as well as MP for Portland Western — filed a suit claiming that the comments Campbell made during the Clarendon North Western constituency conference in Spaulding were “meant to convey or imply” that he “had engaged in criminal conduct” and had “committed an offence”.

In his claim, Vaz said that Campbell is aware, or ought to be aware, of the police statements concerning the investigations. However, Campbell, he said, made the comments “knowing that the meanings of the words contained therein were false and defamatory”.