Sun | Dec 3, 2023

Mobbed man hailed as ‘godfather’ of Victoria Town

Published:Friday | May 13, 2022 | 12:05 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
A poster of Chieftin Campbell which was created by students and teachers of the Victoria Town Primary School, Victoria Town Road in Manchester.
A poster of Chieftin Campbell which was created by students and teachers of the Victoria Town Primary School, Victoria Town Road in Manchester.
Franklin Barrett, neighbour of the late Chieftin Campbell.
Franklin Barrett, neighbour of the late Chieftin Campbell.

VICTORIA TOWN, Manchester:

Family, friends and members of Victoria Town community in south Manchester remain in heavy mourning over the tragic death of a resident, 62-year-old Chieftin Campbell, who they said looked out for the interests of residents.

Campbell, according to police reports, was found in the midst of a crowd with a bloody nose approximately 2 p.m. along Manchester Road last Friday by police who were on foot patrol.

The reports are that he was attacked by a mob after being pointed out by an unknown individual as someone who had allegedly robbed a man some time ago.

Following the police’s intervention, Campbell was taken to the Mandeville Regional Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

His friend of 10 years and neighbour, Franklin Barrett, said when Campbell did not answer his phone last Friday evening, it was confirmation of the news of his death he didn’t wish to have.

He said his friend was a selfless man who had no issue putting aside his matters to look out for others; noting that Campbell was adamant that he go out and celebrate his birthday, despite having buried his mother a few days prior on April 8.

“Him say enjoy yourself man, my mother dead but you fi celebrate your own life ... . A this coming Thursday him supposed to married enuh, and said he want me come to the wedding. A money him go Mandeville go get the day to make the reservation and prepare himself and him a walk a Mandeville and somebody see him, call him thief and dem beat him up … . Them kill an innocent man.”

Barrett said the community remains grief-stricken as all can attest to his upstanding character.

“Them cyan hold up right now. It rough. You see if him did in a wrongdoings and him did a bad man, [then you could understand] but a him one deh a him yard. Me and him watch football Saturday when Liverpool a play, a me and him watch the game and have a drink because the two a we cheer Liverpool.”

He said Campbell was a known chef in the community, and the go-to person for pot rentals for large events and any other assistance he could give.

“… Him cook fi the community. Any time we have dance a him wi come to fi rent pots. If we don’t know how to cook a him wi call and him come and observe. Him nuh eat pork and him cook the best pork … . Is a godfather them take away from us ... . Him represent on the school board and if anybody want a book, bag or short a lunch money, them can go to Mr Campbell. He was that type of person and very family-orientated.”


Guidance counsellor at the Victoria Primary School, Cornelia Powell-Yorke, also confirmed this and expressed that Campbell was a big supporter of many activities at the school, in addition to his role on the school board as the community representative.

“If I want tokens such as books and pencils for my kids, he is the one who would provide those. We had guidance luncheon last December and he is the person we borrowed pots from. If we have meetings, he is here and when we have events, we invite him. He is someone we can call on to assist the school in anything he can.”

Powell-Yorke said a grief counselling session will be held at the school for the members of staff and community residents on Wednesday, and the students have since set up a condolence corner at the institution in Campbell’s honour.

Barrett said among the persons who are even more hurt about this tragic death are Campbell’s grown children who live away, and his fiancée, whom he was with for approximately 30 years.

“If me is a friend and me feel so can you imagine them … She [fiancée] traumatise. She is a good woman to community too, there is nothing too good for her to give away. She is scared because it was him and her and you can imagine somebody weh a protect you gone. She torn up and lock off... .”

Barrett, who struggled to fight back the tears, said he helplessly witnessed a man being beaten two years ago in Mandeville and similarly wished he was there to help his friend last week.

“…Me witness this come happen to somebody me close to. Me nuh wish this fi happen to nobody else in a Jamaica. Find out how it go first before the mob killing … . Me sorry me never di deh fi help me friend, me would give me life fi him. Him shouldn’t dead yet.”

He attributes a number of his successes to Campbell’s influence and assistance and indicated that had it not been for him, his progression in many aspects of his life would be thwarted.

“He was a very intelligent and influential man. If you see the amount of book him read and him encourage me fi read too. A pure documentary them man deh watch. First time I came here nothing never did a gwaan fi me and him tell me save. Me save and buy a car and every time me go in there me remember the man. Me nuh know if them make anybody good like him any more … . A him me get light from because me couldn’t afford it. Him first did have internet and him encourage me to get internet and show me how me can pay the bill [in instalments] …”

Barrett said he is expecting justice to be served and that everyone involved in his friend’s death will face the law.

“The man leave with the intention fi come home. Him never sick and go doctor. Them beat him kill him … I wish if all a who beat him something would come out of it and them arrest them.”

Head of the constabulary’s Corporate Communications Unit, Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, while speaking on Radio Jamaica’s ‘That’s a Rap’ with Earl Moxam recently, said the constabulary’s technical team has been engaged to commence the review of video footage of the incident. The police yesterday confirmed that two persons were identified.