Incensed by an early morning death threat against him and his family, as well as the torching of the People’s National Party (PNP) St Catherine South Eastern constituency office, Dr Alfred Dawes, who was last week selected as the Opposition’s candidate for that constituency in the next general election, has vowed to gut the “dirty underbelly” of politics and purge his party of the few criminals creating mischief.
“I am not going to tolerate a small group tarnishing the good name of the PNP in South East St Catherine and, on a whole, in Jamaica,” Dawes said in a 10-minute video posted on social media platforms on Saturday.
Dawes said people who claim to be a part of politics in Jamaica but are mere criminals and thugs must be rooted out, stressing that they “are worse than a hundred gunmen because of the orders they send out”.
“Those persons need to be purged from our midst, and I am starting that crusade as of today,” he said, his voice firm.
The medical practitioner posted the video a day after firefighters put out a blaze at the PNP constituency office in Independence City, Portmore, following public displays of anger over his selection as the PNP’s candidate from supporters of current deputy mayor of Portmore and councillor for the Edgewater Division, Alric Campbell.
Dawes said he received a threatening phone call at 3:00 am Saturday, with the caller stating that what happened to the constituency office was only the beginning, and they would find his home.
“Now, when you cross that line of threatening my family, all gloves are off. In deference to unity I thought about being silent about the matter; however, I am going to make this clear: I am going nowhere. I have been selected fair and square based on the party’s internal polls,” said Dr Dawes.
He said both his vehicle and the PNP’s campaign vehicle were recently defaced. These attacks, he said, indicated a need for the relevant people to step in. However, that has not been the reality.
Dawes said he is of the belief that the few people responsible for torching the constituency office were “emboldened by the silence of those who ought to have reined them in”.
“The fire-bombing of the constituency office is one of the darkest days in the history of the PNP, where people who claim that they are PNP supporters would rile up a group, finance them, and have them torch a constituency office that is going to be serving the community and the workers,” he said.
Stressing that he rejects violence in politics, Dawes called on party supporters to “rise up as one and say ‘no’ to this dirty type of politics”.
“I am calling on all well-thinking PNP supporters to reject and publicly denounce all acts of violence and intimidation… towards me and the party leader. When we, as one, stand up to those violent dregs in our midst and let them know that they have no place in the PNP, then we can stand up to the people of Jamaica and let them know that we do not tolerate any criminal activity and we are the solution for crime. Until we do that we are going to be in Opposition for a long time,” Dr Dawes said.
Supporters of Campbell, who vowed to vote for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the next general election, were witnessed burning T-shirts bearing Dawes’ image. Some party supporters had claimed that Campbell had topped Dr Dawes in an internal poll, and that had the party hierarchy put the contest to a vote — in keeping with its stated mode of choosing candidates — the councillor would have won.
However, that claim was dismissed by Dawes as false, and he insisted that he was selected “fair and square” by the PNP after the internal poll was done.
Acknowledging that he had remained silent on the matter since news broke of his selection, Dawes said that it had caused a slew of misinformation as angry supporters believe that he was favoured by the party.
“When this misleading information is put out to make it appear as if I lost the selection and then I was foisted up on the people, who are resistant, it led to a very careless move to rile up supporters. And what that has done is to cause a mob, who are unrepresentative of the wider constituency or the party, to take upon themselves instructions that they ought to fight back,” Dawes said.
He said he was still open to working with every single Comrade who believes that he is the person to help the party take back the seat from the JLP in the next election.