NORTH EAST St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Raymond Pryce yesterday declared that he was not offended by the "I am no fish in here" comment directed at him last week in Gordon House by J.C. Hutchinson, who represents the north west portion of the same parish.
The comment, which has been largely interpreted as laced with anti-homosexual venom, was made during last week's sitting of the House of Representatives.
Yesterday Pryce, who was among four MPs who apologised for their roles in the ugly spat in the House last week, said he was not offended.
Pryce noted that the fish is a symbol that was used by early Christians who had faced persecution for their beliefs.
"The fish affirms that they were Christ-like," Pryce said.
"I am honoured to be thought of as Christ-like. As the great song says, they will know we are Christians by our love. I have no hatred in me for any member of this honourable House," he added.
Hutchinson has been wobbly in seeking to explain his comment. In one radio interview, he said his reference to Pryce as a fish was as a result of the member figuratively poking him in his side with barbs.
In another interview, he said the fish reference spoke to newcomers in Parliament. Hutchinson said he, too, was once a fish but had now graduated to a whale.
The significance of the mammal was not lost on members of the House yesterday, many of whom chuckled as Pryce spoke about the attack, which he said he did not know was aimed at him.
"Like Jonah, I having emerged from the belly of the whale, have deepened my adoration for our lord God almighty who has created each of us in his own image," the North East St Elizabeth MP said.
Stressing he was determined to be of value as a legislator to Jamaica, to ensure the country is able to achieve economic independence, Pryce said "the experience of the recent days in the belly of the whale has helped me to understand and to determine my mission in this House".
NOT IN HANSARD RECORD
In the meantime, Pryce denied referring to Hutchinson as a boy or saying he was not a gentleman, or telling him to shut up last week. He noted that the Hansard records of Parliament confirm he did not use the words.
Pryce said he would not have done so as "such uncouthness is not my nature". He, however, said if Hutchinson felt that he made pejorative remarks about him then he was sorry.
Pryce also acknowledged that he rose and spoke in the House while another member was speaking without getting leave from the Speaker of the House.
"That was a clear and a regretted breach of the Standing Orders. It was unbecoming of me and I accept and I acknowledge that," Pryce said.
He apologised to the Hansard writers, members of the House and the general public for his behaviour.