FORMER Prime Minister Edward Seaga has chastised Jamaica Observer columnist Mark Wignall for claiming that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) supported his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the 1980 election campaign.
In a response to Wignall's June 17 column in the Sunday Observer, Seaga, who was Opposition leader up to the 1980 elections, said even the late Michael Manley, People's National Party (PNP) prime minister at the time, subsequently dispelled the notion of CIA support for the JLP.
Folllowing is the text of Seaga's statement:
Jamaica is now 50 years old and as a sign of growing maturity, journalists and other media persons should avoid speculation which repeats propaganda.
In the Sunday Observer of June 17, one of your senior journalists, Mark Wignall writing in his Sunday column, Wignall's World wrote as follows:
"It is a fact that after the PNP lost the general elections of 1980, criminal gunmen, allied to the PNP, who had committed murder at home, sought and were given refuge in Cuba. Why was this so? Quite possibly because Cuba had seen the gun carnage in Jamaica in 1976 to 1980 as a straight fight between the 'progressive' forces (PNP) and what had to have been seen as the 'reactionary' JLP supported by the CIA."
The repetition of that propaganda is intended to imply that the CIA played a role in the JLP victory in the 1980 General Election. This propaganda lost its currency 32 years ago based on Michael Manley's own statement which dispelled all versions of CIA, stories in relation to the JLP and the CIA as related in my autobiography, My Life and Leadership. Volume 1:
"An article, 'Dangerous Dishonesty', by Gleaner top investigative columnist, Wilmot Perkins on July 8, 1980, disclosed that Michael Manley had admitted in different interviews, including to Newsweek magazine in February, 1977, and in an interview on a WIRT Television Florida Forum, according to the January 18 issue of The Gleaner, that government had no evidence of CIA involvement in any attempt to destabilise Jamaica or overthrow the government, and that he had said so publicly and was happy to say that now. "The arguments of Agee and others, therefore, were of little substance. Minister of National Security Keeble Munn also told the House of Representatives that "the government had never accused the CIA of involvement in the destabilisation activities which took place in Jamaica last year (1976)", contrary to the argument of Philip Agee promoted on JBC and in the Daily News. Munn thought it was, perhaps, the mafia."