Tue | Oct 23, 2018

George Davis | The dread beat all bald head

Published:Tuesday | September 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Mikael Phillips (left) prepares to press flesh with Damion Crawford, who garnered the most votes (1,973) in the PNP vice-presidential race Saturday, as they get ready to listen to PNP President Peter Phillips' keynote speech yesterday afternoon. Mikael Phillips tallied the second most votes with 1,782.

Enter the dreadlocks! Damion Crawford, doing his best Biggie Smalls impression, has kicked in the door waving a piece of two-by-four and in the process sent his vice-presidential rivals scampering for cover as he captured most votes in the race for a place in the leadership structure of the People's National Party (PNP).

Crawford, whose automatic facial expression is a grin, can look into the eyes of fellow Comrades, especially those who wish he had stayed away when he stepped aside in early 2016, and channel his inner Alkaline:

Dem nay (never) waan mi yah

Mi cut and come back wid di formula

Have everybody speechless like Michael Jackson song, enuh

When me a work dem did a laugh, enuh

Crawford is not liked by many. But he is loved by many more. Over the years, he has crafted a message, a doctrine even, called Crawfordism. At the heart of Crawfordism is a message to people, especially the youth, that advancement, empowerment and enrichment can only be achieved through self-improvement.

You may say that such a message has been said before by many leaders, especially those from the political class. You would be correct. But not many can project their own lived experience to their audience in such a manner that those in attendance believe in the message because the speaker is deemed to be saying what they live.

 

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

 

Many political leaders have preached long and hard about the value of education and self-enhancement. Many have told audiences about the value of adding two plus two to make four. But Crawford has a way of breaking it down for his audience so they understand that four can also be achieved by subtracting two from six, or by adding one to three, or by adding negative one to positive five.

In delivering his messages this way, he comes across as a man who is not peddling a line written for him by some adviser, focus group or think tank crouching behind laptop screens in air-conditioned offices.

He sounds as if he is the exclusive author of what he speaks, and his method of delivery - using the language of his audience in their interactions with each other - gives him a kind of authentic acceptance that many in the PNP can't even dream of.

Look, Crawford has already held big positions in government and the legislature. He has been an MP and a junior minister and led the PNP Youth Organisation for a spell. But his elevation to the post of party vice-president is perhaps even bigger when you consider that now, all must accept him as someone delegates have designated as an equal among the most senior power brokers in the 80-year-old party.

So whereas before, in his time as junior minister and MP, there were still people with more senior posts than himself in the structure of the party, Crawford is now a bona fide leader who now expects to be consulted, rather than merely informed of the big decisions in the party.

People in all walks of life specialise in disliking, even hating, other people. The hate and dislike is especially strong when they can't programme the minds of others to do their bidding. Crawford is a man disliked by some Comrades because as they say in the streets, "him nuh tek programme".

Crawford should by now know and understand that he must never be perturbed by the feelings of those who dislike him. After all, if John Tom dislikes Tom Strokes, it's John Tom, weighed down by the negative energy of his dislike, who has the problem and not Tom Strokes!

The country should welcome Damion Crawford to the leadership of the PNP at a significant moment in the history of this great party. Welcome must also be extended to Wavell Hinds, a man of deep conviction and intelligence who is ready to face the kind of sustained, hostile fast bowling in Eastern Hanover that he never experienced in his solid career as an opening batsman for the West Indies.

Crawford and Hinds make the PNP better.

Selah.

- George Davis is a broadcast executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.