MEMBER of Parliament for North East St Elizabeth Raymond Pryce says that despite calls for his removal from some members of his constituency, he will remain steadfast in his style of representation and his strong focus on education.
“Education is the truest opportunity that poor Jamaicans have to become anything. I am not going to apologise for my focus on education,” Pryce told reporters and editors yesterday at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.
In April, a small group of constituents called on People’s National Party President and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to have Pryce removed as their political representative, but an unfazed Pryce yesterday made it clear that he was not involved in any popularity contest.
Pryce was installed as a last-minute replacement candidate for the December 2011 General Election to replace incumbent MP Kern Spencer, who was, at the time, facing a legal battle. Basil Waite, who was first selected as the party’s candidate, was withdrawn.
Pryce said yesterday that he is well aware that his style of representation is a far cry from what some party stalwarts are accustomed to, but said the old-style pork barrel politics must go as the people are in need of more meaningful advocacy on their behalf.
“Everybody plays to their strength; I am not going to play to my weakness. I am not going to change who I am to run in a popularity contest,” he said.
The protesters had given Simpson Miller 10 days to replace Pryce, but 62 days later he still occupies the chair of political representative.
His focus on education and the future of the children in his constituency has seemingly not gone down well with some of his older constituents, but Pryce is not worried that it will be reflected in the polls.
“My key critics are well known to me. It’s smaller than you imagine,” he said. “North East St Elizabeth has in me an MP that goes around the clock. One person said to me that if I think the children can vote for me, but they will vote for me in my second term and my third term,” he said yesterday.