Arthur Hall, Senior News Editor
PNP stalwarts rush to Crawford's assistance to avert constituency fallout
A high-level People's National Party (PNP) team has been put together to attempt to settle the increasingly bitter row involving member of parliament (MP) for East Rural St Andrew, Damion Crawford, and some of the party's key supporters.
Crawford has found himself fighting for his political life in the constituency after some key party members accused him of having an autocratic style and leaving them out of plans to use resources allocated to the constituency.
That came to head on Sunday when tempers boiled over at a constituency meeting where some supporters hurled abuse at Crawford and threatened to no longer work for the party if he remains in the post.
DIFFERENCES CAN BE RESOLVED
But PNP General Secretary Peter Bunting yesterday argued that the matters at the heart of the dispute are not fundamental and can be settled through negotiations.
Bunting rejected charges that Crawford has been abandoned by the party as he seeks to introduce a different approach to politics and the distribution of state resources.
According to Bunting, PNP stalwarts who are no longer on the front line, including Maxine Henry-Wilson and Dean Peart, have joined the chairman for the party's Region Three, Phillip Paulwell, and Angela Brown Burke in attempting to bring an end to the dispute.
Bunting said the machinery in Region Three, where the East Rural St Andrew constituency falls, is playing the lead role in mediating the dispute.
According to Bunting, Crawford, a first-time MP, is being given the full support of the party.
"He (Crawford) is going through what I think is primarily some communications challenges between himself, the councillors and some party supporters and workers," said Bunting.
"But I don't see anything fundamental that can't be resolved with some mediation."
Bunting argued that even greater effort would be made to settle the dispute after the party's annual conference this weekend.
"The week of conference is very challenging because everybody's hands are full mobilising their own constituencies, finalising reports and conference documents so perhaps we have not had enough time to attend to it, but I know that immediately post-conference it will get the necessary attention."