'Dutty labourite' comment unfortunate, says Crawford
DAMION Crawford was swift with his apology yesterday as the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) scolded him for calling its supporters 'dutty labourites'.
Less than an hour after JLP Chairman Robert Montague issued a statement to the media slapping Crawford and demanding an apology, the popular member of parliament for the ruling People's National Party (PNP) and junior tourism minister said sorry for the comments made during a party conference in East Kingston Sunday.
"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.
"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," said Crawford.
The JLP chairman, in his statement earlier, called for an immediate national apology to all supporters of the Opposition from Crawford.
Montague said that he was shocked and disappointed at the comments made by Minister Crawford, who consistently tries to position himself as an advocate for poor people.
"We know that generally when the PNP says they love the poor it's about politics and not development, but now Minister Crawford has shown his true colours too. The very same classist behaviour he accuses others of, is clearly in his heart if the card he draws to make a point is one of the worst classist phrases to ever be brought by the PNP into the politics of Jamaica," Montague said.
Crawford's statement, claimed the JLP chairman, reflected the growing disconnection between the PNP and the people of Jamaica as well as between the words and actions of the Government.
Said Montague: "How can you call a significant portion of the population 'dutty' and say you represent the people of Jamaica as a minister?"
Crawford was the second senior member of the party who was forced to apologise this week for comments made on the weekend.
Speaker of the House Michael Peart on Monday withdrew a statement made at the funeral service in Manchester for triple murder victims when he suggested that the killer should not have been allowed to pass the police station, which gave an impression that he supported 'jungle' justice.