Damion is back

Damion is back

Losing PNP Portland Eastern candidate reappointed to Senate; Dr Andre Haughton replaces Noel Sloley in Upper House

Observer staff reporter

Monday, April 15, 2019

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WHEN People's National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips spoke to party supporters at a workers' meeting in Portland Eastern last Wednesday, he indicated that defeated candidate in the recently held by-election, Damion Crawford, would have national duties, signalling then that the PNP vice-president would be heading back to the Senate.

Yesterday, the party's National Executive Council (NEC), during a special session at The University of the West Indies (UWI) in St Andrew, ratified Phillips's decision to reappoint Crawford to the Upper House of Parliament.

Crawford, who last month resigned from the Senate to contest the April 4 by-election in Portland Eastern, was defeated by the governing Jamaica Labour Party's Ann-Marie Vaz — polling 9,670 to her 9,989.

“I want to say one more thing; Damion is here to stay. Yuh want him, don't it? Yuh ready for him, don't it? Yuh love him, don't it?” Phillips said during the meeting held at Port Antonio High School in the parish.

“But, hear mi. I want you to know that we have some national responsibilities for him too. So I want you [to] understand; him deh yah wid you, but he has some national responsibilities because is not only inna East Portland wi haffi go reach out to the youths and get inna dem head. As him seh, we want a change of mentality. We want an understanding of our history. We need to have a sense of where we coming from, so we can know where we are going...” said Phillips.

The PNP, in a media release, confirmed that Crawford was again given the nod to sit in the Senate and will be joined by economist and UWI lecturer Dr Andre Haughton — the PNP caretaker for St James West Central — who will replace Noel Sloley, having tendered his resignation, recently.

Haughton, who is also a member of the Students' Loan Bureau board, was appointed standard-bearer for the western constituency on January 27.

Yesterday's announcement pertaining to Crawford was met with cynicism on social media as several voiced that long-time Portland Eastern aspirant Andrea Moore was again snubbed.

Moore has long harboured hopes of representing the PNP in Portland Eastern, but after being selected by delegates ahead of the February 2016 General Election the attorney-at-law was reportedly told to stand down.

Moore was again asked to stand down last month when the seat became vacant following the murder of PNP Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.

Rumours began that Moore was offered a position in the Senate following Crawford's resignation — a move some say was to prevent her from hauling the party to court.

This was, however, firmly denied by Moore, who said the position was not offered to her, though she would welcome the opportunity if it presented itself.

“PNP continues to use people, especially females,” Carlene Clarke said on Facebook.

Another user wrote: “Miss Moore [you get tricked bad]. No Senate seat fi yuh.”

On October 20, 2017 Crawford was sworn in as an Opposition Senator. Last September, he amassed the greatest number of votes of four PNP vice-presidents elected from a hotly contested election.

The PNP said the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has been notified of the Senate changes, and also announced that changes would be made to its Shadow Cabinet.

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