THE EDITOR, Sir:
I note with interest the chastising of North East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Raymond Pryce, who reportedly did not stand to salute former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who was being recognised recently at a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament for his contribution to national development.
Mr Pryce has been deemed to have been disrespectful towards Mr Seaga and/or showed a lack of appreciation for protocol. While Mr Pryce has shown on occasions a propensity to be discourteous, there does not seem to be any attention being paid to the possibility of his so acting, or refusing to act, being merely an honest act on his part.
The truth of the matter is that Mr Seaga has been arguably our nation's most vilified politician in our history. Such demonisation has been meted out by members of his own Jamaica Labour Party, by the People's National Party more so, and by other members of society at large.
During his time in active politics, it was rare to hear a kind word being said of Mr Seaga, despite his unquestionable love for his country and his people, and his commitment to institution-building and nation-building.
Many of us, especially some of us who did not know better or who grew up towards the latter part of Mr Seaga's political involvement, ended up forming the belief that Mr Seaga was a bad person based on all that was being said.
No sooner had he retired from active politics, it was as if Mr Seaga underwent an instant and complete metamorphosis and immediately became the darling of all and sundry. Commendations from all quarters started flowing abundantly, speaking glowingly of him and his contribution to Jamaica.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Mr Pryce's view of Mr Seaga has been formed from the mischaracterisation of the man for political and other reasons and such a view by him has not changed.
Thus, Mr Pryce probably decided that rather than being a hypocrite, like some of those who spoke glowingly of Mr Seaga during the parliamentary recognition, he would continue to hold to that unfortunate belief and not offend his conscience by standing in applause.
KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER