Dutty Labourites? Oh no! Not Damion Crawford too!!
WHEN junior minister for entertainment, Damion Crawford, was 'shelling down London' during the 2012 Olympics, we didn't mind. That's what young people do. And, in his ministerial capacity, he had every right to be there.
We were also fully in Mr Crawford's corner when he stood up against the 'eat-a-food' people in his constituency who wanted handouts over education. The young member of parliament wanted to teach them to fish for life, rather than to feed them fish for a day.
We had hoped that, against all the odds, Jamaica had found a young man in whom we might start to believe again; that the generation might yet save itself and the rest of us for whom it is already too late. Like jilted lovers, we approached our love affair with Mr Crawford with great apprehension, not wanting to be left at the altar again, not wanting to contemplate the pain of being heartbroken again.
Then on Sunday, May 25, 2014 — two days after the nation showed a slice of its better self in putting work into Labour Day — and in East Kingston and Port Royal, a constituency once occupied by no less than Mr Michael Norman Manley, champion of the poor and downtrodden, comes the shattering of a dream. The young knight of East Rural St Andrew betrayed the hope of our times.
After seducing the nation with a speech — delivered in the people's language — in which he spoke some telling truths about the state of our nation, Mr Crawford, in true Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde fashion, produced the ugly partisan tribalist in referring to some Jamaicans as 'dutty Labourites".
Bereft of its 'dutty Labourites' gullyism, it was indeed a speech that would have resonated with all Jamaicans. He needed not have coloured it PNP (People's National Party). All Jamaican men and women needed to have heard that they should stop having children they cannot take care of; that they should espouse education and eschew ignorance. It was a speech befitting of the great patriots of our nation. Yet, Mr Crawford found a way to turn it into nasty decay.
"I would like to apologise unreservedly for a most unfortunate comment that I made at a political meeting in East Kingston and Port Royal in reference to the Opposition," he then tells us two days after. Has no one ever told Mr Crawford that sorry doesn't always make it right?
"It is clear that I got carried away and reverted to negative language that has been used in the past by both political parties. This ought not to be part of any vocabulary going forward, by me or anyone else. I pledge to never allow this kind of utterance to escape my lips in the future as I try to make a positive difference in my country," he tells us further.
But the deed is done! And the damage cannot be undone!
We believe that Mr Crawford has not only let himself down but others of his ilk — like Julian Robinson; like Raymond Pryce; like Mikael Phillips; like Andre Hylton; like Lisa Hanna; like Natalie Neita-Headley; like Hugh Buchanan; like Arnoldo Brown — who represented the future of the PNP and the hope of our country.
An apology is not enough. He should seek to do community service in a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stronghold. In that he might find penance.