Thursday 14 November, 2019

Daryl takes potshots at Damion

Damion Crawford

Damion Crawford

Member of Parliament (MP) for West Portland, Daryl Vaz, has taken to Twitter to defend his wife, Ann-Marie, and to jibe Damion Crawford about comments that he made about her on the campaign trail for the East Portland seat.

Ann-Marie defeated Crawford at the polls in Thursday's by-election, with the final count giving her a higher margin of victory than the preliminary count on Thursday. She tallied 319 votes more than Crawford, with the final count having 9,989 for Ann-Marie Vaz, and 9,670 for Crawford.

In a lighthearted tug at the nerves of Crawford, Vaz took to Twitter and said, "more than Mrs Vaz! Member of Parliament-elect".

It was a direct jab at Crawford, who was criticised by some nationally for a remark in his opening campaign speech, which some thought was disparaging to his opponent, Ann-Marie Vaz.

In reference to his situation in his former constituency of East Rural St Andrew, in which he was elected for only one term before being removed by the People's National Party (PNP) before the 2016 General Eelections, Crawford said that it might not have been his destiny to be in East Rural St Andrew.

Crawford continued: "I understood that I wasn't to be upset about it, because there is a book in the bible that tells you about Jonah, and PNP did already have Joshua (in reference former PNP leader and Prime Minister, Michael Manley), but it tells you that Jonah a whale had to swallow.

"So when all the things happen and they said that I must come to East Portland, I said maybe that is where Jonah’s whale intends for him to go. And so when they are saying that I soon gone, it is a lie, because the west already have a prime minister (PJ Patterson) and it is now time for the east.

"I don't know, but if you look at potential, the furthest this lady will go is Mrs Vaz. If you look at potential, how far can I go, and how far will you come with me?" Crawford said then.

The comment was taken up nationally, with some people blasting Crawford by saying it was sexist. During the same speech, he was also criticised for remarked that were viewed as being reflective of classism, and has also been ridiculed for his proposal offering goats to students in East Portland to help with their educational pursuits.

In the jibe at Crawford, Daryl clearly asserted that Ann-Marie has already gone further than Mrs Vaz, as she had defeated Crawford to become the soon-to-be sitting Member of Parliament for the East Portland constituency.

Daryl and Ann-Marie Vaz share a warm embrace on the campaign trail in East Portland under the approving eyes of a number of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) bigwigs, headed by party leader and Prime Minister, Andrew Holness (left foreground) and Chairman, Robert Montague (right). 

But Daryl, now the seasoned MP for West Portland and a member of the Andrew Holness-led Cabinet, was not prepared to stop jibing there, although Crawford recently said publicly that they share a good relationship.

Daryl’s next Twitter swipe was at Crawford's reinforcement team for Thursday's by-election, in which a number of the PNP's current bigwigs and others that formerly held sway within the party, were directly involved with the on-the-ground campaign machinery.

Said Daryl: "Money can't buy love. Not even with the help of two former ministers could they beat @annmarievazja! Not even promises of goat and fish. Drought is over. Shower! Action! Not a bag of goat!"

Among those who were directly involved at the leadership level in Thursday campaign for the PNP were Maxine Henry-Wilson, a former Education Minister, and Donald Keith Duncan, more popularly known as ‘DK Duncan’, who was Minister of National Mobilisation during the 1970s.

Both Henry-Wilson and Duncan are known as top-flight political strategists, who are capable of organising the PNP's machinery to win elections. Henry-Wilson was the director of Crawford's campaign.

Maxine Henry-Wilson on duty as campaign director for the PNP in the East Portland by-election. 

 Duncan headed a divisional team, as did other former PNP ministers who are still in active representational politics, except for former East Portland MP, Dr Donald Rhodd. The others included Dr Morais Guy, Natalie Neita and Dr Fenton Ferguson.

Their collective big show of support, however, failed to spark enough interest from the East Portland electorate to take home Crawford successfully, as Ann-Marie swung around a win by well over 2,000 votes by former PNP MP, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, in the 2016 General Elections, to defeat Crawford by 319 votes.

It was the first time that the JLP was winning the seat in 30 years, and the first hold by a female on the constituency.

Daryl capped it all with the Hastags, #EastPortland, #ActionAnn and #StrengthOfAWoman.

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