Following the resignation announcement made by former president of the People’s National Party (PNP), Dr. Peter Phillips, Jamaicans had various opinions on who would be the best person to take over and rebuild the party.
Among the names that were touted was Damion Crawford, a usually outspoken vice-president of the party. But Crawford remained silent on the party’s affairs following the General and Presidential elections while Dr. Phillips resigned and Mark Golding became the president of the PNP.
But now Crawford’s true feelings have now come to light. In a leaked voicenote, the former member of parliament (MP) for St Andrew East Rural ripped into the leadership of the party and slammed longtime PNP member, Lisa Hanna, Golding’s sole opponent in the party’s presidential election.
In the 23-minute audio which was voiced before the party’s presidential election, Crawford stated that he didn’t believe Golding could not win the election because the consensus was the party was in need of a young and popular leader.
“The people are of the opinion that we need a Andrew [Holness]. That is his only negative,” he said while referring to Golding as “a next Peter Phillips.”
Crawford also suggested that he would launch a presidential bid in the next five years, while hinting that Golding is only good for the next two years.
“Mark is the most ready for the next two years. But [General] election is not the next two years, and we can’t change [the leader] again. Nobody can come two years’ time and seh ‘we ready now’. Dem a go seh ‘Why yuh never ready from dem long time deh?’” he said as he explained his five-year outlook.
Crawford touted that he was most committed to the party’s ideology and said he was more popular than Lisa Hanna, the MP for South East St. Ann.
“When people say Lisa popular, she has never gotten the cheers that I get at a PNP meeting”, he said.
“She has never gotten the adoration weh me get amongst regular people. Never! Lisa Hanna nuh get the cheer weh Dayton Campbell get when him reach a wah PNP meeting. How her popularity nuh translate into anything yet?” Crawford said in the voice note.
“Lisa have a hundred camera a walk with har every day. Me walk without camera. She a train every day and she barely a edge me out. Then when me start train, wah go happen?”
He also said that Hanna used the election to market herself. “She take the whole election and promote herself and make her picture bigger than everybody picture and keep herself in the media everyday,” he said, also suggesting that she leaked presidential polls that were in her favor to promote a winning image.
He continued his rant, also suggesting she was not a delegate favourite.“Lisa run delegate already and we nyam out har burger,”. Before losing the recent presidential election, Hanna previously lost a vice-presidential bid in 2016.
The PNP senator also conceded that the PNP would be defeated in the upcoming local government elections, which have been pushed back because of COVID-19.
In the voicenote, Crawford was speaking to two other members of the party.
The explosive audio is set to cause an even deeper rift in the 82-year-old party which has been marred by internal conflict and division, following two leadership challenges in the last 14 months.