Wed | Apr 24, 2019

‘Ideas live forever’ - Crawford feels responsibility to help others be better

Published:Sunday | March 24, 2019 | 12:30 AMLivern Barrett - Senior Staff Reporter
Crawford
Damion Crawford (left), People’s National Party candidate for the upcoming by-election in Portland Eastern, assists Micah Hamilton (right), 15-year-old grade-10 student at Titchfield High School, with her homework while he campaigns in Breastworks, Portland, last Thursday.
Crawford speaks with residents, on the corner, in Breastworks, East Portland, last week.
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Growing up in the gritty inner-city community of ‘Little Lane’, located off Maxfield Avenue, in St Andrew, Damion Crawford had an inkling from very early that his calling was to help lead a revolution for those who, like him, were at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder.

Nothing underscored that thought more than an incident he witnessed involving his father.

Crawford, recounting the incident, said that the company for which his father worked organised a beach trip for employees and their families.

He said his father, anticipating that tables would be in short supply on the day of the trip, went to the beach a week before and secured a table for his family.

“[On the day of the trip], somebody come and said the boss don’t have a table, we should give him our table,” Crawford recalled.

“My father said, ‘ why should my children eat sand? Wha mek me do what I should do, get my table and give it up because of his position’?” he continued.

Crawford, now a successful entrepreneur, lecturer, former senator, member of parliament and junior minister, said that incidents like those and the underlying message they conveyed had a profound impact on him.

“Those things motivated me and educated me that I can be better,” Crawford said during an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, flanked by residents from the East Portland community of Bread Lane.

“He always told me that I will be better than him, sometimes even while beating me,” the dreadlocked former senator recounted.

Now hoisted into the ring by the People’s National Party (PNP) for a high-stakes showdown with Jamaica Labour Party challenger Ann-Marie Vaz, Crawford believes that those lessons will prove invaluable.

“So when I come through those situations, as I told them on the stage [at the recent PNP rally], from having shoes with names – school shoes, church shoes, and going out shoes – to now having 18 shoes, me now feel a responsibility to others going through equal circumstances,” he said.

Politics, he said, would enable him to help more people faster.

“Without politics, I would be the same person, but I would be a bicycle, moving one person slowly. With the policies and politics, I can be a bus, moving more people quickly,” the former junior minister of entertainment reasoned.

It was this desire to help change the mindset of the people in Bread Lane and similar communities that motivated Crawford’s proposed plan to provide them with special classes and a “she goat”, among other things.

He pointed to his educational qualifications and successful foray into business as evidence that his plan can be successful and believes that this can also help them to develop the mindset of an entrepreneur.

To complement that, he said the classes will target high school dropouts. “They can do principles of business so the hustle can be turned into a business. He can learn ‘bout marketing, him can learn ‘bout pricing,” Crawford explained.

“An idea will not die. So even if I’m not here, him can still get him own goat. That’s why I’m saying I’m moving away from dependence. There is nothing to stop an idea. An idea lives on forever,” he reasoned.