Has Mr Damion Crawford's time come?

Has Mr Damion Crawford's time come?

Friday, September 18, 2020

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Mr Damion Crawford appeared severely subdued – some might suggest chastised – in the immediate aftermath of the political drubbing taken by the People's National Party (PNP) on election night, September 3, 2020.

The PNP vice-president had invested much in the party's bid to oust the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). He was credited as the principal behind the party's manifesto dubbed the Wealthy Plan or People's Pledge, which touted water, jobs, access to the Internet, land and housing, and the youth as the main focus of the next PNP Government.

It was Mr Crawford's job to traverse the island, explaining the plan and fielding questions. So, if he appeared subdued — or chastised that all that effort had come to naught – that should be expected.

Moreover, Mr Crawford had hardly got over his beating by the JLP's Mrs Ann-Marie Vaz in Portland Eastern just last year, when the party ceded what was known as a safe seat, even while he increased the PNP's vote count.

He was quoted as telling talk show host Mrs Emily Shields that that gruelling campaign had hurt him in the pocket as well as robbed him of his passion.

That being said, the PNP seems to have caught a vision of Mr Crawford as a future leader of the party and continues to invest heavily in him. People who understand politics, especially Jamaican politics, can see why.

He combines the natural charisma of past leaders such as Mr Michael Manley and Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, and the brains of Mr P J Patterson, three extremely beloved members of the PNP.

Mr Crawford moves among the people with consummate ease. He excites a crowd with sparkling articulation. And he advocates with great empathy for the most marginalised and deprived – a man, no doubt, of the people.

It can be argued, however, that this is where the comparison stops.

Mr Crawford loves to run his mouth, which has got him into all sorts of trouble. One recalls the reference to “dutty Labourites”. He would certainly have a learnt a lesson from Mrs Vaz who told him: “Beautiful speaking can't provide food…”

Still, whatever faux pas he has committed, the PNP has always been willing to forgive as youthful exuberance; or to forget his apparent failure as Member of Parliament for St Andrew East Rural and the agonising Portland Eastern loss.

He is the most popular of the four PNP vice-presidents going by the votes at the last annual conference, and he has been retained as senator by Dr Peter Phillips, even though he did not run for a seat in the general election.

We would hazard a guess that Mr Crawford will be a contender for the St Andrew East Central seat when Dr Phillips steps aside, likely between now and the next annual conference, despite his untypically shy response when asked if he was interested.

The 40-year-old Kingston College old boy told Power 106 FM's Morning Agenda: “I don't think there is anybody within the party that if they were offered the leadership would have refused it because they believe they're incompetent or otherwise, so I think quite a few of us are interested.”

Yet, if that shy response and sober approach to the PNP's defeat is more than a passing phase, Mr Crawford might just be signalling that he is ready and his time has come.

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