Burke Insists He Never Chased out Crawford, Pryce et al

Immediate past General Secretary of the People’s National Party, Paul Burke, is defending himself against criticism that he’s to be blamed for former Members of Parliament Raymond Pryce and Damion Crawford being sidelined in the party.

Both Pryce and Crawford — who were first term MPs — were replaced in the run up to the February 25 General Election.

This, after contentious selection processes.

In an interview on Nationwide @5 last evening, Mr. Burke said both Crawford and Pryce are responsible for what happened to them.

He also said he tried to help them.

In a letter to comrades on the weekend, a long standing member of the PNP’s National Executive Council, Steve Ashley, said the removal of Damion Crawford and Raymond Pryce, and the orchestrated demonizing of Lisa Hanna, have created a ‘vacuum in youth intellectual discourse’ in the party.

In addressing those issues last evening, Mr. Burke defended his actions.

Pryce — who was MP for North East St. Elizabeth — had been facing a rebellion among comrades in the constituency, who no longer wanted him to represent them.

After months of internal wrangling, PNP delegates from the constituency voted for businessman, Evon Redman to replace him.

Mr. Burke says Pryce insisted on having the selection conference, which he eventually backed away from.

In East Rural St. Andrew, Damion Crawford also faced stern opposition from some comrades.

He’d initially suggested last year that he would walk away from representing the constituency.

Crawford later changed his mind, infamously saying he’d tricked the people.

Mr. Burke says he worked hard to have the party’s Executive re-open the opportunity for Crawford to enter the selection process to represent East Rural St. Andrew, as he was a late entrant.

Mr. Burke says he feels Crawford’s ‘tricksy’ comment hurt him.

And Mr. Burke says he doesn’t want MP for South East St. Ann, Lisa Hanna, to be removed from her constituency.

The relationship between Mr. Burke and Ms. Hanna has broken down over the past few years.