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Damion preparing to leave politics - PNP MP, Brown Burke square off on social media

Published:Friday | December 11, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton
Damion Crawford
Brown Burke
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Damion Crawford is getting ready to leave representational politics.

The East Rural St Andrew member of parliament (MP) made the revelation yesterday, hours after a testy exchange between himself and Dr Angela Brown Burke blew up on social media.

"I am reviewing my methods of contribution [to the country]," Crawford told The Gleaner from St Vincent and the Grenadines, where he has spent the last few days in a successful campaign which saw the Unity Labour Party (ULP), a democratic socialist party led by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, being elected to a fourth term.

"Politics isn't my occupation; it's my contribution. So if I am not allowed to contribute here, I will find other ways to contribute to my country," Crawford said.

The junior tourism minister went to St Vincent to help Gonsalves retain state power.

When it became clear that the ULP had won the election Wednesday night, the MP, whose stint in the House of Representatives appears to be heading to a solitary term, took to Facebook, where he wrote: "Thank God Angela Brown Burke's punishment never extended to St Vincent. Up here nice."

Brown Burke, People's National Party (PNP) vice-president responsible for the political region of Kingston and St Andrew, was not pleased.

"Damion Crawford, lef me name alone. Ask Ralph if a nuh me tell Ralph fi mek u come," she responded.

Crawford fired back: "Angela Brown Burke, Ralph not even mention you as somebody to say hello to. Your influence nuh pass William Grant Park".

PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill yesterday said he was unaware of the public spat between Crawford and Brown Burke.

"Oh Lord! Oh Lord!" he exclaimed when told of the words being traded.

"I am not - as you probably suspect or know - I am not one who deals with this social-media thing. It is unhelpful as it is harmful. Now that you have said it, I am going to find out what has transpired," Pickersgill said.

"When you have exchanges like this between two party members, especially a senior person, it causes what you are talking to me about; it causes that sort of thing," he added.

 

STILL IN GOOD GRACES

 

Asked if Crawford was still in good graces with the party, Pickersgill said, "Yes".

"I am the first to say intra-party matters should remain so," he said.

Pickersgill joked that having helped Golsalves' party to retain state power, "Damion is coming back a conqueror".

Crawford yesterday said that Brown Burke has been seeking to drum up support for him to be "punished because of my policies".

The first-time MP was booted by the delegates of East Rural St Andrew, primarily because of a lack of political work in the area. He has been accused of failing to maintain a political organisation and not seeing the need to endorse handout politics.

A glimmer of hope for him to return to the House of Representatives surfaced by way of the North Trelawny constituency, where he was identified as a potential candidate.

The PNP has been unable to get its supporters to coalesce around J.P. White, who was selected to replace the incumbent Patrick Atkinson. However, despite members of the hierarchy agreeing for Crawford to become the standard-bearer, members of the executive, including Brown Burke, said the party would be rewarding bad behaviour if he is given the seat.

"As far as I am concerned, I have done nothing to deserve and will not agree [to] any punishment of any sort," Crawford said.

"My only issue is why I have to agree to do as they say or be punished. That is a slippery slope for a political party," he added.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com