Crawford brands Holness a 'hypocrite' for using artistes who 'promote violence' in election dubplatesSaturday, June 19, 2021
Firebrand Opposition Senator, Damion Crawford, on Friday ripped into Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who he branded a "hypocrite" for suggesting that entertainers were contributing to the country's crime problem, in particular gun violence, through their lyrics which often glorify crime.
In his contribution to the debate in the Senate on amendments to the Anti-Gang Bill, Crawford pointed out that Holness himself embraced some of the same dancehall artistes who spout the most violent lyrics, when the prime minister and other politicians used them to make dubplates during the last general election campaign.
Crawford, who previously used the Senate to accuse the prime minister of using “government badness” to silence his critics, pointed to a news report in 2013 when Holness, then Opposition leader, argued that the then PNP government should take responsibility for crime.
“Now (Holness uses) every effort and every opportunity to say something else is the chief contributor (of crime). The people indiscipline, the people this, the people that…,” he said.
Crawford told his colleagues that he would not be part of any call for politicians to speak with one voice on the matter of crime “because the prime minister himself speaks with multiple voices (on crime)”.
The Opposition senator then pointed to an article titled 'Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness drops fire campaign dubplates'. He said some of these were displayed on the prime minister's social media pages. Crawford noted that the dubplates were made by artistes, some of whom are known to espouse violent lyrics in their songs. They include Masicka, Intence and Skillibeng.
He highlighted some of the violent lyrics he said featured in the original version of some of the songs used by Holness on the dubplates.
In the song 'Just a Minute', he said Masicka deejays:
'Me a di crocodile chit chat fi a minute.
Couple rifle, couple criss Glock fi a minute
And mi deh deh a do di whole place lock fi a minute
“Mi just swing the Beretta pon mi belly fi a minute
Link up Erica pon di cellie fi a minute'.
According to Crawford, “if he believes that violent music as he said, created criminal activity, why did he choose this song?
He added that, in the same song, Masicka sings: 'Shootout, heavy tools out, mi a bring it. Get the food dough and buy a house every minute.'
“Why him choose that particular song, of all the songs,” Crawford asked rhetorically.
The artiste Jahvillani also did a dubplate for Holness called 'Clarks Pon Foot'.
In the original version of the song, the artiste sings:
'Shotta than the mattic/Wha di god a bus, boom'
Crawford once more asked “why did the prime minister choose that song?”. He also pointed to the song 'Mr Universe' by Skillibeng in which the artiste says:
'Roll out wid the wet mop, Skilli well bad…”
Senator Crawford conceded that maybe the prime minister did not understand some of the metaphors being used in the song such as wet mop.
In the original version of the song 'Owna Lane' by Tee Jay, which Crawford said was also used as a dubplate by Holness, a portion of the lyrics goes:
“Dawg wha mek yuh do that
Carry mi name go to the cops
Love yuh belly, you that
Dem ago find yuh dead like two rat
A bet yuh say yuh left yuh (expletives) yard and nuh come back
Yuh mother see yuh body and ask a say a who dat'.
Said Crawford: “Why him choose that song ...this is the prime minister's election dubplates. Him never choose Chronixx, him never choose Protoje. He chose these songs”.
While he quoted from the lyrics by Tee Jay, there were audible groans from some senators and Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson even asked Crawford about his views on some of the lyrics he was quoting.
Crawford said that although he stood in support of entertainers, he found some of the lyrics “morally offensive”. He said he does not listen to those songs.
At this point, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith rose on a point of order and accused Crawford of imputing motive and using unparliamentary language by referring to the prime minister as a hypocrite.
“The prime minister has always indicated his support for dancehall and the creativity of dancehall while indicating that it is a problem where violence is promoted by that type or music or any type of music,” Johnson Smith said.
She insisted that there was no hypocrisy on the part of the prime minister and insisted further that he did not use any violent language in his general election dubplates “which had become quite a phenomenon during the last campaign”.
Crawford meanwhile also went after Government Senator Charles Sinclair, who, during his contribution to the debate the previous Friday, expressed surprise that Crawford had previously branded the prime minister a hypocrite for suggesting that some music, in particular dancehall, was a contributor to crime and criminal activity.
Sinclair also stated that in 2013 when the principal Bill was being debated in the House of Representatives, the then PNP Government sought to introduce a clause that would effectively criminalise the performance and recording of songs which promoted or facilitated criminal organisations and/or their activities. Crawford, who at the time was junior minister of tourism and entertainment, noted on Friday that it was his intense lobbying that got the controversial clause removed from the bill.
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