Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Gordon Robinson | Not everyt’ing good fi eat good fi talk!

Published:Sunday | September 10, 2023 | 12:07 AM
Dayton Campbell
Dayton Campbell

After a brief lull, Dayton “Chatty Chatty” Campbell has resumed what appears to me to be a campaign to become JLP’s most potent asset.

His past performance on political platforms appeared to feature personal abuse as his go-to political strategy. His targets weren’t restricted to the opposing JLP but his trifling tongue has also cut his own comrades. In 2019 Peter Phillips was warned by Chatty Chatty he was becoming a “poppy show” and a “laughing stock.” Before that, Lisa Hanna was ridiculed for winning a global contest while representing Jamaica. Ironically, Chatty Chatty’s actual achievements haven’t resembled Peter’s or Lisa’s.

After 2020 elections where his loose lips helped to sink Rise United’s ship and PNP’s with it, Chatty Chatty issued an “apology” for fomenting PNP disunity:

“…as an adult, as a big man, I want to unreservedly offer my own apologies for any role that I would have played in doing so in the past.”

So why didn’t you? Another of the most popular affronts to language and intent is this “I want to” horse manure.

“After the election on September 3, I took a little time off to do a little introspection…. I realise there’s a reason why the player on a football field is probably not the best coach of the team, because when you’re immersed in what’s taking place, your vantage point, your view on things, is a little bit different than when you’re on the outside looking on…”

But like most political “apologies” this turned out to be a poppy show. Chatty Chatty continued firing volleys of abuse from political platforms. Recently his proclivity for engaging mouth before brain has caused him to fall upon thorny ground after making incredible allegations against Daryl Vaz of all people. Surely Chatty Chatty must know the first rule of birth control ( which applies to Daryl as much as to Gene Autry.

I guess not, because now he’s after a media house, namely Nationwide News Network (NNN) which he described, at a PNP rally, as “an incubator for the government.”

Ooooohhhkayyyy…. That’s a tad harsh but not necessarily false. Worldwide, journalists, having gained experience and good reputations, move on up to Government positions. Or a deeeelux apartment in the sky! Also former government officials often become media analysts.

But Chatty Chatty and oral restraint are not friends. So he decided to call names. And to make it more politically partisan and petty.

“Naomi Francis lef’ tu’n Press Secretary. Cecil Thoms lef’ tu’n Communications Director for JUTC. Abka lef’ an’ tu’n Senator. Dennis Brooks lef’ an’ tu’n Communications Director for JCF. It is an incubator for the Jamaica Labour Party ! (my emphasis)”

Naughty, naughty.

Reprehensible rhetoric

Too many public affairs commentators completely missed the putrid perversity exposed by this reprehensible rhetoric. Clifton Hughes, as at least a peripheral target of this monumental mischief, is excused for focusing on his perception of personal danger to NNN staff. NNN has, for years, been labelled JLPFM by PNP trolls without any physical consequence. JLP trolls label journalists from RJR/Gleaner group as Comrades and TVJ as PNPTV.

So flipping what?

But this……? This is dangerous. Why? Because, leaving Abka out of it for a moment (he’s a special case), this exposes the rotten totalitarian thinking by our political leaders brainwashed by 61 years of Westminster, as to what “governance” means. The General Secretary of one of Jamaica’s two main political parties clearly doesn’t understand the difference between Executive Government and political party. What Chatty Chatty has propagated is that OPM; JUTC and, worst of all, JCF, are JLP organs. Does Chatty Chatty plan to turn these national institutions into PNP organs if becoming Government?

Everybody has a political preference. There are three types two of which attract 95 per cent of the world’s population. Those two, in order of popularity, are political party and political philosophy.

The majority of political partisans choose based on party. These are called Tribalists. Deeper thinkers choose a political philosophy and then cast a vote based on the candidate (or party) espousing their preferred philosophy. These are called Ideologues.


Most of us begin primary political education as Tribalists then, somewhere along the line, graduate further education as Ideologues. A tiny minority of stubborn lovers of clarity, after experiencing post-graduate studies of real life, make political choices based on political systems. It’s to that last, almost invisible, group, populated by a tiny set of obstinate idealists, that your not-so-humble scribe belongs.

In the late 69s/early 70s, I was a committed PNP supporter mainly as a result of wide-eyed admiration for Norman and Michael Manley. During my time at UWI, like 95 per cent of all university students, I was also an unapologetic Socialist. My closest fellow law student, more experienced in life than I, was, at the time, a PNP Tribalist (family tradition) but warned me against socialism. He said young socialists were all cured by first receipt of an envelope with a transparent panel which, when opened, contained a threat that, if you didn’t pay in ten days, the utility would be cut off.

So said; so done. I entered married life in 1982 cured of every socialist tendency. After many more years of experience I realised the political party or philosophy in control of government mattered not one-tenth as much as the system of governance. Then and now Jamaica’s governance system allowed governments to do as they liked with zero accountability. So, circa mid-1990s I became a political supporter of constitutional transformation to a republican system of governance and have remained so ever since.

Clifton Hughes’ political history, from his high school days (classmates included PNP’s “two Wells”) began as an activist PNPYO member while resident in the constituency now represented by Philip Paulwell. But, as a journalist, he outgrew his early political roots and substituted professionalism for political party. My personal experience with Clifton started over a decade ago when I created and produced two programs on horseracing for NNN that aired three days weekly. Even before that I produced one created by Dr Paul Wright that aired twice weekly. I started with the admirable Liz Bennett (now at OUR) as General Manager/Programs Director and ended with Simone Lunan. I interfaced often with Clifton himself. I never so much as felt a hint of political or creative interference from any of those three or anybody else at NNN.

While at NNN, Naomi was unashamedly my favourite colleague. She was brilliant, easy to talk to (talking to people is NOT my thing) and always professional. I see no change from then to now. Cecil Thoms was one of the best news readers I’ve known with a comprehensive command of the language. He was also a consummate professional. Dennis Brooks, who I met later, was the nerdy body-builder so the envy of fat, ugly red men like me. He was a deep thinker then and now.

Political affiliation

Abka is not NNN. He once worked there. His political affiliation has never been secret. His social media posts made this abundantly clear for years. But, even when at NNN, those posts were his own and not endorsed by NNN. Also, again, historically, many former journalists, including current and former Information Ministers, have become politicians.

Again, so flipping what?

The disgraceful personal insult to these individual achievers is the saddest part of Chatty Chatty’s panic attack.

After our Saturday Afternoon program debuted, my co-host, Michael Hall, and I were very disappointed in our performance. Clifton called us to a meeting and expressed similar sentiments. He offered us a NNN producer as he felt I was doing too much. I declined as I wasn’t countenancing anybody else taking care of my baby. After the debut jitters, the show found its feet and took off.

All I ever got from Clifton was support and help. He and former Gleaner Editor Garfield Grandison are the only media managers ever to invite me to give seminars on defamation to writers, presenters and producers. Clifton did it twice AFTER my programmes ended. Dennis Brooks attended both and could be counted upon to ask pointed and pertinent questions.

I don’t know what Clifton’s current political preference is. I don’t care. Critics (which, from time to time, included me) need to address NNN’s output and stop trying to read minds.

Obviously Chatty Chatty hasn’t learned the futility of fighting media. It’s like Davy Crockett and a few frontiersmen defending the Alamo against the entire Mexican army. Media publishes/broadcasts daily (many 24/7). The rest of us can only hope for occasional coverage. We can’t win. So, Chatty Chatty, you should stop punching yourself out trying.

Not everyt’ing good fi eat good fi talk.

Peace and Love.