IN JAMAICA: DAMION LOSES PNP BID: PNP discards Damion Crawford, Young MP loses candidate selection to businessman Peter Blake...Blake polled 217 votes to Crawford's 166

BY KIMONE FRANCIS Online reporter francisk@jamaicaobserver.com  Monday, October 05, 2015  
THERE were tense moments at yesterday's St Andrew East Rural candidate selection exercise at the People's National Party (PNP) headquarters in St Andrew, as businessman Peter Blake defeated incumbent Member of Parliament Damion Crawford to secure the right to represent the party in the next general election.
Damion Crawford lost his bid to the PNP
The selection exercise teetered on the brink of a firestorm after it was announced by PNP Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson that Blake polled 217 votes to Crawford's 166, which flat-lined the young MP's political career. Just over 500 delegates were eligible to vote. One ballot was spoilt.
Heading into yesterday's run-off, which began at 10:00 am and ended at 3:00pm, an embattled Crawford told the Jamaica Observer that he was "pretty confident, having done the work".
"Our people are coming out early; we knew the rain was going to fall, so we had to ensure that we had the Xs in the boxes. We are confident... I think there are more people who are satisfied than dissatisfied," he said at that time, noting that it was an internal election and immediately following would be the process of getting "all PNP" on board.
Singing to the same tune, Blake, who was the 2011 standard-bearer for the party before being replaced by Crawford, said: "We feel fairly confident enuh... the people are about to speak, or have spoken already."
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Winning team of Peter Blake
At the same time, he rubbished rumours that the party would defy the delegates and replace him for the highly anticipated general election if he emerged the winner, insisting that the party would not put the constituency through the "trauma of a selection" and not use him.
"It is being repeatedly reported to me by delegates and constituents that my opponent and his agent have been telling them that should I be successful in the upcoming selection, that it is the intention of the party not to ratify me as the candidate," Blake said in a letter to General Secretary Paul Burke. more

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