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JM | Nov 30, 2020

Instead of playing the long game, Damion Crawford continues to sow PNP discord

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

Reading Time: 5 minutes
People’s National Party (PNP) Vice-President Damion Crawford. (Photo: Facebook @Damion.O.Crawford)

People’s National Party (PNP) Vice President Damion Crawford, unwillingly or otherwise, emerged from political silence this weekend, as a leaked conversation in which he criticised the organisation’s top brass has gone viral on social media platforms.

Having digested the 23-and-a-half-minute audio, it gives me no pleasure to express my continued disappointment in Crawford, even if the timing of this leak makes perfect sense.

The leaked call only adds further fuel to the flames of PNP disunity; at a time when Jamaicans are politically apathetic, indifferent to ‘hype and popularity’ and care for real, tangible progress.

For a man with much political promise, Damion Crawford seems as equally skilled at shooting himself in the foot. (Photo: Facebook @Damion.Crawford.94)

It was a rant in the truest form, which sows the seeds of proof that the PNP’s brand and image are quickly losing relevance.

First mistake: Having the public a party to ‘private’ conversations

The timeline of the conversation could possibly be anywhere around late October or early November, as it would align with the presidential campaigns of both Lisa Hanna and Mark Golding.

At the time of the audio, Crawford, speaking with PNP supporters in East Rural St Andrew, said he didn’t think Golding stood a chance against Lisa Hanna.

Lisa Hanna. (Photo contributed via YouTube)

He then further argued that instead of helping Golding to steady the ship, his energies would have been better served to campaign for himself, even as he declared Hanna wasn’t nearly as popular as he.

“People a seh Lisa Hanna popular but she has never gotten the adoration weh me get [among] the regular people. Never. So how that popularity never transition into anything yet?” he asked.

Once bitten, twice shy?

And to be fair, he has a point. Last year, amid the leadership contest between Dr Peter Phillips and Peter Bunting, Crawford backed the incumbent.

Damion Crawford speaking to a fellow One PNP supporter as delegates voted for a new leader in September 2019. The incumbent candidate, Dr Peter Phillips, who he gave his full support, won by a slim margin. (Photo: Dennis Brown)

While victory favoured Phillips, the larger battle against the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was lost and the PNP went out with a whimper in the 2020 general election.

Golding, according to Crawford, marketed himself as the ‘Jesus’ so desperately needed by the PNP—but warned that the new Opposition Leader could turn out to be John the Baptist, whatever that means.

In the same breath, Crawford told his confidants that Golding is the right choice for PNP President and to challenge him in the next two years would be foolish.

Mark Golding speaking at his swearing-in ceremony as Opposition Leader. (Photo: Facebook @MarkJGolding)

Still, he seemed confident that the PNP would again be trounced in the local government elections and the next leader should expect ‘gnashing of teeth’ for the next three years.

“In fact, mi nuh sure wi a elect Jesus, a coulda John the Baptist wi a elect because when [Golding] done come through the fire, yuh nuh see no promised land,” Crawford argued.

An uncomfortable truth…

Forgive me Mr Crawford, but your claim of being “the most committed” to the PNP’s ideology pales in the light of your track record.

Damion Crawford’s sheer political appeal is undeniable…can he (and the wider PNP) get it right? (Photo: Facebook @Damion.O.Crawford)

Notwithstanding, you are admittedly a force in politics, that much cannot be denied. With you as PNP vice-president, however, it would be remiss of me to remind you that since your first foray into representational politics in East Rural St Andrew nearly a decade ago, you have failed to score even a single electoral victory.

You and the PNP’s collective fixation on creating a rival to Andrew Holness in an attempt to ‘rescue’ Jamaica is misguided and will continue to fail.

Why? Because it ties into the ongoing identity crisis that has befallen the PNP…the party doesn’t need an ‘Andrew’ or a ‘Portia’ or a ‘Lisa’ for that matter.

What the entire establishment needs, most of all, is someone who is committed to change. The problem facing the PNP is that the organisation has seemingly convinced itself that its (un)popularity and (dis)unity are the foremost issues.

As Damion Crawford has demonstrated, the PNP’s Achilles heel is ego. Unbridled and unfettered ego: everyone wants to prove they can talk the walk before even making the first step.

Photo: Facebook @Damion.Crawford.94

And it’s interesting coming from a man deemed the PNP’s “most popular politician” in 2019, who was soundly beaten in East Portland—the ninth strongest seat, held for thirty years. He was bested by a political neophyte, Ann-Marie Vaz, who was competent enough to secure a second term as MP.

Do you see where this is going, sir?

If what Crawford says is true, and the ‘negatives about him can easily be fixed’, then why are we back here when you’ve repeatedly heard you ‘talk too much’?

For all her faults, and I’m sure the people of South East St Ann indicated as such in September, Lisa Hanna still won her constituency.

You, on the other hand, kept quiet the entire presidential campaign, did not express an interest in throwing your hat in the race, nor backed any of the two candidates despite your presumed confidence in Golding.

Ridiculing women (Ann Marie Vaz, who you refer to as “the lady without much sense”, and Lisa Hanna) is unbecoming of you.

The ideological spoutings continue but what the people have yet to see is a presentation of your maturity and wisdom. Until you finally make your case for leader, put up or shut up Mr Crawford, if not for your sake,  then for the party you so love.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to the ‘leaked audio’ and decide for yourselves:



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