Latoya Grindley, Gleaner Writer
The name Damion Crawford is still perhaps synonymous with the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO).
Quite the vocal one during his stewardship, there is no doubt that his popularity in the local sphere grew as he served as head of the group between November 2008 and April of this year, when he resigned from the post.
A Kingston College old boy, Crawford's interest in politics was aroused after he was approached to run for the presidency of the PNPYO. Convincing himself, and in turn his fellow colleagues, he was elected to lead the group. Passionate about his alignment with the PNP, he says the views of the party match his own.
"The PNP has originally been socialist and about putting people first. It shares the same outlook that I have and would want to achieve," he said. Just recently given the nod of approval to go into representational politics, Crawford is hoping to win the seat of East Rural St Andrew.
This constituency, he recognises, comes with great needs, and having realised these, he has his solutions. "Education is a priority and I am looking into having this issue sorted out. It is about looking at the bigger picture, including things like accessibility to schools and transportation."
He also said it is his intention to have a centralised book-rental system. This he says will over time result in books being circulated which will help to lessen the burden on parents to purchase books. Other issues he says he will place emphasis on are unemployment, proper infrastructure and farming. These plans are all dependent on funding and so he believes the best approach is to seek the assistance of non-governmental organisations.
Trying to wrestle away the Jamaica Labour Party-controlled constituency, Crawford says he is not too perturbed. As a matter of fact he is quite optimistic that he will be victorious.
"It is a marginal seat and I really believe I have a good chance. Jamaicans have an affinity for me. I hope the constituency is convinced that my party is the best and I hope the election process will be clean," he stated.
Politicians have over the years been discredited as corrupt and selfish. And for Crawford, this perception was created by the actions of some politicians. He hopes to prove himself and not fall within the stereotype.
"It is up to me to convince people that I am different. You can give of yourself and still be loyal and non-corrupt."
Now taking his first steps in representational politics, Crawford hopes to have a long career in politics and to one day lead his country.
"I have ambitions and want to make the greatest change from the highest position," he revealed. And being a young aspiring politician, Crawford shares his take on the recent appointment of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
"It is all about marketing. It is not new as you had the 'black man' time, 'woman' time and now they have the 'young people' time. What we need is a 'Jamaica' time. What Jamaicans want is a change in outcome and he hasn't proven to be a change agent. I can't blame them for pulling for Andrew, he was the best bet, but I don't think he can maintain the attention, only substance can. I am glad for him as a person though."
In anticipation of a seemingly imminent general election, Crawford says at present, he is strategising so as to maximise at the polls, which will clear the way for him to become member of parliament for East Rural St Andrew.