Erica Virtue, Staff Reporter
Member of Parliament for East Rural St Andrew Damion Crawford was the star of the business session of the People's National Party's (PNP) 74th annual conference yesterday as he received overwhelming support from party delegates.
The first-time MP was urged to "stand firm" and not give in to persons in his constituency opposed to his use of state resources through the Constituency Development Fund.
"The cause is for an educational transformation. The cause is for upliftment, and the cause is for the future," Crawford said as he exited the auditorium which was closed to members of the media.
According to Crawford, his constituency has one of the highest illiteracy levels in the grade-four literacy and numeracy examinations set by the Ministry of Education.
"Give the delegates their due. At least they are accusing me of doing something different and not the same old, same old," Crawford told The Sunday Gleaner.
When Crawford left Jamaica College, where the PNP's private session was held, delegates spewed their venom on former MP Oliver Clue, who is the councillor for the Harbour View division in the East Rural St Andrew constituency.
Clue was accused of lighting the fire of political discord in the constituency.
"A di same ting Omar Davies duh round a South (St Andrew). You hear anybody round deh a complain?" said one delegate.
While the delegates' support for Crawford was clear, the leadership of the PNP did not explicitly state its stance.
According to PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill, while the party would never distance itself from the principles of education, the issues involving Crawford are far more complex that what has appeared in public.
"Interventions have been taking place at all levels, but the issues are wide and varied," said PNP Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson.
Yesterday's private session of the PNP's conference closed with an address on the state of the economy by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.
Party president Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is expected to be the star of today's public session of the conference.