Tue | Jun 2, 2020

‘PNP has no regard for women’ - McKenzie slams Crawford, Comrades for culture of sexism

Published:Wednesday | March 20, 2019 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

People’s National Party (PNP) candidate for Portland Eastern, Damion Crawford, has come under withering criticism from Desmond McKenzie, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) chairman for Area One, ripping into him for earlier comments made against election rival Ann-Marie Vaz.

Speaking at a JLP meeting in Fellowship on Friday night, McKenzie delivered a tongue-lashing to Crawford, condemning him for his March 3 remarks made against Vaz on a PNP platform, which he deemed racist and sexist.

McKenzie, who spoke at length, also made it abundantly clear that he was not talking to Labourites at the meeting but rather to those who were listening to the meeting and were sitting on the fence.

“It is a sad day in this country when a man can go on a political platform for the first time and launch a scathing attack on a young woman who has offered herself,“ commented McKenzie.

He added: “The only crime that she has committed is the crime of offering herself to serve the people of East Portland. And I say to you tonight, [don’t] make the mistake and allow those comments to float in the air and you vote the wrong way,” he added, before making reference to perceived mistreatment of former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller by members of her party.

“Remember the former president of your party. The same group that you see running behind the dread is the same set that pushed her out and criticised her and say all manner of things about her. They have no regard for women.”

McKenzie pointed out that Angela Brown Burke was the only female vice-president of that party but that forces within the PNP ganged up on her and caused her to lose the internal vice-presidential election. He also cited the PNP’s decision to overlook Andrea Moore, on two occasions, as a prospective candidate for East Portland, who was passed over in favour of Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, first, and Crawford now.

“Unnu nuh waan nobody fi disrespect unnu. We nuh waan nobody fi trick unnu. Unnu nuh plyboard people. Unnu a hard-working Jamaicans who deserve a representative that is going to respect you for who you are,” the member of parliament for Kingston Western further said.

Throughout the meeting, JLP supporters were heard chanting, “We nuh waan no she-goat!” while the sound of vuvuzelas echoed throughout the hills of Fellowship.

JLP heavyweights Horace Chang, Edmund Bartlett and Robert Montague backed Vaz’s candidacy and played up her strengths.

“In Ann-Marie Vaz, the JLP has a candidate that we are proud of,” said Montague, chairman of the JLP.

“She has committed herself to work on your behalf to provide people with jobs, to give young people the training so that people can have opportunity to uplift themselves, because Labourite nuh want nuh handout. She has committed herself to improve every community, whether it’s road, light, or water ... . She is committed to improving educational opportunity [for] the people of Eastern Portland.”