PNP Portland Eastern Candidate Damion Crawford, speaking Friday with RJR's Hotline host, Emily Shields
Damion Crawford, the defeated People's National Party (PNP) candidate for Portland Eastern, has revealed that an internal poll indicated that the PNP was behind in the lead up to Thursday's by-election.
Mr. Crawford said he took a risk because he was the best candidate to try and retain the seat for the party.
"I took a large risk. My own internal poll suggested that we were 11 points behind when we were going in. But the party needed someone to try and...if anybody could have turned it, I thought I was the best person to try. So I took it on and it never worked. If it worked, I'd have been hugged and lauded and it don't work and I'll be criticised. That's life. That's a risk," he said Friday during an interview with RJR's Hotline host, Emily Shields.
Mr. Crawford said he is disappointed by the outcome of the election but not by the people of Portland Eastern.
"I question if my policies are being rejected, if the country that I want to see of educated profit seekers, who are entrepreneurs more than employees, if that opinion is not likely shared. And politics is about building the country that you're comfortable with. So you have to then say, am I willing to either change the country that I want to see, or are the people willing to change themselves to come to the country that I want to see?" he said, reflecting on his defeat.
The Jamaica Labour Party's Ann-Marie Vaz defeated Mr. Crawford by a little more than 300 votes.
Mr. Crawford said despite reports in the media about vote buying, he did not witness it taking place.
He noted that the JLP won because it had more resources - "the ability to put out more ads, the ability to hold more meetings, to distribute more assistance, to fix roads out of their own pockets" - in addition to spending more time in the constituency.
Asked whether gender was a factor in the election, a question which likely came up due to contentious remarks made by Mr. Crawford about his opponent in the lead up to the election, the PNP candidate contended that fairness has become defined by "reverse unfairness", whereby "people feel that she (Mrs Vaz) should be able to thump me in the face, but I shouldn't be able to pat her on the shoulder."
Further, he argued that the election was not just against Mrs Vaz, but against her husband, JLP's Daryl Vaz, and the entire Jamaica Labour Party, "and they said many things on the platform, so if you don't respond equally, you'll be at a disadvantage."
While Mr. Crawford has indicated that he is not likely to return to the Senate, he noted that this is not the end of his political career.