Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Tears of a different kind for Pryce

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Raymond Pryce is overcome with emotion as he and PNP President Portia Simpson Miller celebrate victory for the Comrades in the December 2011 general election. Now, he’s crying tears of sorrow after being chucked out by the party hierarchy.

And so we prepare to say goodbye, at least for now, to one of the sharpest MPs in the House of Representatives over the past three years and more.

That Raymond Pryce has been rejected by his constituents in the PNP heartland of North East St Elizabeth is not a surprise. Not when one considers the difference in philosophy that he shared with many of his constituents, especially those wielding influence in the various divisions and communities that comprise the whole.

Indeed, it can be argued that the fact that he had a philosophy, in a seat where practical reasoning on strict parochial matters is the expectation, Pryce was hiding nothing in his quest to connect and identify with a group of people who, from the start, found it difficult to accept him mere weeks before the December 2011 election.

No one can say the people of North East St Elizabeth got it wrong. They know what they want. And the kind of MP they want it from. They never really liked him and were quick to question his perceived sense of entitlement, given that he was only in the constituency because two golden boys, Basil Waite and former MP Kern Spencer, had basically sh*t on their own dinner plates.

Yes, they sent him to Gordon House with a bigger majority than they gave Kern in 2007. But that was after their boss, Portia, had demanded that they set aside their misgivings and electrify the ballot with the true Comrade spirit in the constituency.

Despite the fact that they never loved him, it's difficult to grasp how a constituency, which gave him 4,068 more votes than his JLP rival in the 2011 election could, after nearly four years, decide that Raymond Pryce should be washed down the cistern like a pint of milk that has passed its sell-by date.

So after one of his supporters allegedly took the PNP to court, in an attempt to prevent him losing to Evon Redman in a selection exercise in the constituency, Pryce's annus horribilis was complete when he was dumped as a deputy general secretary at a stormy meeting of the party on Monday night.

Only those with the coldest heart will smile at what has befallen this proud, intelligent man. More than a year before the tragic death of Mario Deane, who. we recall, found himself in jail for a ganja spliff, Raymond Pryce asked his fellow legislators to support radical changes to the ganja laws. Pryce gave notice of his private member's motion on the subject on January 29, 2013.

As was expected of him, his motion was crisp, sensible and benefited from his sharp intellect as he fended off the objections of those who wished to continue criminalising young men and keeping the country in the Dark Ages. His will go down as a significant intervention in the move to decriminalise and, ultimately, legalise marijuana use and cultivation in this country.

His private member's motion about registration requirements for civil-society entities is perhaps more controversial, but, as is typical of him, has caused the nation to think and act on a very important matter.

Raymond Pryce, the legislator, has done far more in his three years in the House than so many of his colleagues on the government benches in this cycle and even those who've been there long before him. Apart from that fishy exchange with JLP veteran J.C. Hutchinson on July 3, 2012, he has conducted himself with credit. His absence from the House, unless he gets another seat, will diminish the intellectual capacity of the chamber, a depressing reality for a space that's already desperately short of quality.

So there goes Raymond Pryce, a highly intelligent lawmaker, who can point to the impact he's made as part of the legislature. That he could not find sanctuary in his constituency is, indeed, sad, but if it's the will of the people, so be it.

Alan Rickman's character in the 1990 Australian western Quigley Down Under remarked that while some men were born in the wrong century, he was born on the wrong continent. Clearly, Raymond was sent to the wrong constituency.

Selah.

- George Davis is a news editor and broadcaster at Nationwide News Network. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.