Wed | Dec 12, 2018

#PNP80: New VPs take front seats, Crawford reveals his dream

Published:Sunday | September 16, 2018 | 12:51 PM
Newly elected PNP vice-presidents (from left) Phillip Paulwell, Dr Wykeham McNeill, Mikael Phillips and Damion Crawford - Ian Allen photos
People's National Party supporters raise their hands as they echo cheers at the National Arena - Ian Allen photos
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Syranno Baines, Gleaner Writer

It is the best view for Damion Crawford, Mikael Phillips, Phillip Paulwell and Wykeham McNeill today — the front row on the platform of the People's National Party (PNP's) 80th annual conference now underway at the National Arena in St Andrew.

The four were elected vice-presidents yesterday eroding the chances of fellow contenders: incumbents Drs Ferguson and Angela Brown Burke.

Today, Ferguson and Brown Burke are seated one row begin the second tier leadership.

Crawford would take to the lectern at the sound of Buju Banton's Hills and Valleys to detail a dream he said he had last night of a Jamaica that is educated, healthy,  equal and fair.

But before that, flanked by his fellow vice presidents, Crawford had to beg for calm so that he could speak.

"Comrades, I had a dream last night and the dream told me things are going to change," said Crawford, sending the swelling crowd inside the national arena into another round of wild cheers.

He proceeded to thank Brown Burke, who he said was a true fighter for the party, and Ferguson, a stalwart.

"It was clear everyone wanted to win but no one wanted the party to lose," said Crawford.

He then charged that the PNP must be solutions-oriented as it seeks to form the next government.

"We have to awaken from our slumber and acknowledge that this is Jamaica where the man has a dog as a security guard and the dog eat twice and the man eat once. We have to acknowledge that this is Jamaica where some people eat only for the feeling of a belly full but not for the value of nutrition," said the new PNP vice president. 

Earlier, party chairman Fitz Jackson congratulated the new vice presidents while thanking Browne Burke and Ferguson.

However, it was when Jackson introduced a short video clip chronicling the party's history that the audience erupted. 

With the likes of former party president and prime minister Michael Manley pictured with former South African president Nelson Mandela and former US president Ronald Reagan, to Portia Simpson Miller being pictured with former US president Barack Obama, the crowd became hysterical.

Jackson then vowed that the PNP would form the government at the next general election.

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