'I shot the sheriff, not the deputy,' Damion

'I shot the sheriff, not the deputy,' Damion

Louis E A

Monday, October 01, 2018

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As a response to article 'Euphoria, mirage and youth politics', published in The Agenda magazine of the Sunday Observer on September 23, 2018, I have been in communication with Senator Damion Crawford. Thank you, Senator, for the collaboration and discussions by way of the Internet. I am not much of a phone person, but far from archaic.

It was never my intention to attack your insurgency, in terms of your thrust for the vice-presidency and also for political leadership within country and the People's National Party (PNP).

Let me be very clear, this was not an easy article for me to write as someone that has extensive experience in youth politics and also having sons your age. It was something that had to be done to look at the state of youth and politics, and in the end call for education and training for young people interested in offering themselves for public leadership.

I applaud any young person in these times who elects to offer self for public work and leadership. You have done something unprecedented, entering and winning VP election in the PNP with the top votes. This feat was preceded by the debacle in St Andrew East Rural. But, then again, I recall you being parachuted with urgency into St Andrew East Rural, and the night of your victory at the PNP headquarters, the euphoria, and so on.

You have been there and cannot be wholly blamed for the loss; the PNP should have had its academy to train young leaders in politics, political organisation and governance. There is no doubt that it is not just the youth, but also adults, who welcome your insurgency. We must not ignore the quality of youth politics in Jamaica over the past two decades.

I am a hard-nosed instructor. Yes, I may attack your personality, but it is not intended to destroy you. The aim is to make you stronger. I understand your comments, but trust me, politics is a complex activity involving complex relationships. Being a young politician you have a number of issues to which you must attend. You have to find ways to convert these activities into political and social policies and speak about them.

It is not about upstaging anybody. It is about making statements that will add up to your transformative political characteristics. Being popular is one thing, but being able to deliver is another.

I did not write that anyone recruited you to run; I focused on those in your campaign and my knowledge of their political machinations. Let me say to you, build your own base, because any day there is a change in the imperative or major disagreement you will be left alone, in solitude, like Jamaica in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. I know, it is hard to be humble, but I know you have those qualities grounded in decency.

The focus of the article was not on Damion; you were the “deputy”, my intention was to “shoot the sheriff” in the sense of Bob Marley's song. There was the issue of “puppeteers and manipulators” (the sheriff); the major theme within time and place; the dominant influence on youth socialisation and politicisation.

I looked at political leaders defined as young leaders and asked how are they different from their predecessors. I took on your case to challenge the other side of perception on the street. Yes, you are popular, but there is concern about articulating ideas and activities within the context of leading change and transformation.

My attack on your personality is a lesson; look at it, and prove we wrong. Try to figure out things for yourself and let no one or any conspiracy-centred group be your leader. Life is more than a competition; keep it simple as you grow. You are a brave youth involved in this unprecedented space. All eyes will be on you, and I hope this baptism of fire will provide useful and useable lessons.


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