KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former minister of information, Daryl Vaz, says he and former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, share at least one thing in common.
“We have been the two most maligned politicians in Jamaica’s history, but we can both take comfort in the Jamaican saying that ‘people don’t stone fluxy mangoes’,” Vaz said in his tribute to Seaga at Tuesday’s special joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in honour of the former PM.
Vaz recalled that Seaga was “fearlessly vocal” on breaches of moral and political principles, during the 1976 State of Emergency.
“This was even as those around him were being arrested and detained,” he recalled.
Vaz said that, as a young man, he had a unique viewpoint of the time, travelling with his father, Douglas Vaz, who was a member of Seaga’s 1980s cabinet.
He added that he admired Seaga’s tenacity and his willingness to lead from well in front, totally unafraid of adopting a controversial position when he deeply believed in the rightness of the cause.
“As a youngster who deeply believed in the right of democracy, I watched and admired the tenacity and fearlessness of this leader, as his reassuring voice lead us through that time and rewarded Jamaicans with the biggest political victory at the polls,” Vaz stated.
“Many of us forget those dark days in Jamaica, when the weight of the country and its people rested squarely on Edward Phillip George Seaga,” he added.
Vaz acknowledged that it is well known that he and Seaga have not seen “eye to eye”, or “always walked on the same side of the road”, but thought that there was no better way to publicly state his respect and gratitude for his role in nation building than at the sitting.
“In fact, I have tried and continue to try to emulate many of your qualities, as one of the most outstanding Members of Parliament that this country has ever seen,” Vaz said.
“May God continue to bless you and your family with good health and happiness, which you all personally deserve for the personal sacrifices you have all made for this great country,’ he concluded.
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