Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Shocking Vibes boss wants to run for PNP in WC St Andrew
Observer Reporter
Tuesday, April 23, 2002



ROBERTS... not entering politics to achieve status of fame

POPULAR music producer and CEO of Shocking Vibes Production Ltd, Patrick Roberts, is challenging Dr Warren Blake to represent the People's National Party (PNP) in the West Central St Andrew constituency in general elections due this year.

"I have already sent in my letter of intent and I have met with the party's appraisal committee," Roberts told the Observer yesterday.

Roberts' challenge means that the PNP will now have to conduct a poll among its supporters in the constituency, which Blake narrowly lost to the Jamaica Labour Party's Andrew Holness in the 1997 general elections.

Roberts is from Craig Town in South St Andrew, the constituency represented in the Parliament by Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies, whose support Roberts is counting on to secure the party's nod.

Davies, he said, knows first-hand of his track record in community service.

"Minister Davies knows what I can do. He will be someone who will highly recommend me," Roberts told the Observer. "I have no doubt I will win."

A decision is expected by month-end, he said.

West Central St Andrew, for many years considered a safe seat for the PNP, was won by the JLP's Ferdinand Yap in the 1980 elections when the PNP was swept out of office.

However, in the 1989 general elections, in which the PNP returned to power, the seat was won by A J Nicholson who had a repeat victory in the 1993 elections.

Nicholson served the constituency until 1997 when he resigned from representational politics, clearing the way for Blake who, at the elections that year, was first declared the winner, but eventually lost to Holness in a run-off after the JLP contested the initial outcome of the vote.

Yesterday, Roberts insisted that he was not entering the political arena to achieve status of fame. "I have always unofficially represented people, so I have taken the decision to represent people officially," he said.

Roberts said that because he grew up in Craig Town, a depressed inner-city community, he understood the needs of the constituents and can identify workable solutions to the constituency's problems of unemployment and poverty.

"I know of their needs because I myself experience the same plight. They want to see someone from the same bowels as themselves," he said.

He told the Observer that he abhors political violence and is aware that the conduct of some of the artistes he manages can have a negative impact on youth development.

Music, he believes, has the power to effect positive change and he said he was committed to a non-confrontational approach should he win.

"I depend on all sectors to support my music. My artistes have to go all over the place and work. They have to cross all divides. Music has the power to unite any nation," Roberts said.

There are eight artistes in the Shocking Vibes stable, including ace deejay Beenie Man, the controversial Lady Saw and Tanto Metro and Devonte.

Beenie Man has been involved in a number of scuffles and stage clashes while Lady Saw has appeared in court to answer to charges of lyrical profanity.

West Central St Andrew is the hometown of Beenie Man who grew up on Unity Lane. Another of Roberts' charges, Little Kirk, is from Headley Avenue.

Yesterday, Roberts said he has been walking the community and the feedback from residents has been encouraging.

"The key thing in that area is roads, they are terrible."

Roberts, who is president of Arnett Gardens Football Club and the Craig Town Youth Organisation, said he will bring a track record of community service to the constituency and pointed to the programmes he has implemented in Craig Town as reference.

His organisation has started a homework and adult education programme, Community Adult Remedial Education (CARES), which involves lecturers from the University of the West Indies and successful entrepreneurs who teach classes.

Roberts is also a director of the National Youth Service.