A Jamaican politician who became the first person to win the Manchester Central seat for her party in three decades has told the New Democratic Party that it can win the general elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Rhoda Moy Crawford told the NDP’s “Hope for Youth Rally” in Campden Park that her Jamaica Labour Party, a sister party of the NDP, had faced 31 years of challenges in trying to win Manchester Central, which she has been representing since 2020.
“So many influential candidates had the opportunity to contest; they tried; they worked hard, but they failed,” she said, adding that that when she decided to run in that seat, “many thought that I was committing political suicide.
“They said I could not win because apart from the fact that that seat had not been won in 31 years, my political opponent had never lost any parliamentary elections before. He was a successful businessman and he had defeated one of our former prime ministers,” the 34-year-old politician said.
“But Vincentians, I did not give up. My grandmother told me that when there is a Goliath in front of you, there is a David within you. There is a David within each of you. And the time has come for the NDP party to form the government,” she told the rally in Campden Park Saturday night.
“Vincentians, after the parliamentary elections in 2020, I secure victory by more than 1,000 votes. And so, I’m saying to you, it is not impossible to beat the current government, but you must be committed, you must work hard, you must give your full support to the party leader, Dr. Godwin Friday and the political representative of the NDP,” Crawford said.
The NDP has been in opposition since March 2001, when it lost the general elections, after 17 years in office.
Since then, the party’s fortune has grown from the three seats it retained in the 2001 and 2005 elections, to seven in 2010 and 2015.
Then, in the November 2020 vote, the party lost one of its seats by a single vote but won the popular vote for the first time since 1998.
“It’s time to come in from the cold,” Crawford told the large crowd after a part of Bob Marley’s “Coming In From The Cold” was played during her speech.
“My NDP family, as the youngest member of parliament in Jamaica, and one who is genuinely interested in transforming my country and the Caribbean, I have studied very closely the work of Dr. Godwin Friday and the NDP team.
“And I can tell you that an NDP government led by Dr. Godwin Friday will grow your economy and create more jobs in better conditions with better salaries. An NDP government led by Dr. Godwin Friday will lower the cost of living so that your quality of life can be improved.”
Crawford said that an NDP government would combat crime and violence “by empowering the security forces, by improving the justice system and by addressing the social ills through targeted interventions to make you and your families safer”.
She said an NDP government would create better housing opportunities especially for young people and the low-income earners as well as provide greater access to education and skills training to empower the younger generation.
“An NDP government, led by Dr. Godwin Friday, will invest in small and medium enterprises to foster your entrepreneurial spirit. An NDP government led by Dr. Godwin Friday will invest heavily in agriculture and fisheries to bolster various sectors of your economy.”
She said the NDP would improve the nation’s infrastructure, including transportation, schools, public hospitals and the road network “so that a better tomorrow is shaped for you.
“An NDP government led by Dr. Godwin Friday will invest in technology and emerging businesses, making you globally competitive.
“And my NDP family, I know that an NDP government led by Dr. Godwin Friday will boost investor confidence which will unlock even greater potential for you and your beloved country.”
Crawford said Friday is a winner and it is time to move the country forward.
“Too much has gone wrong in the past 30-plus years. You must secure your future and the future of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for generations to come. You must get it right with Dr Friday and the NDP team,” Crawford said.