FORMER Prime Minister Edward Seaga yesterday warned Jamaicans against willingly accepting imported solutions, including the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to address the country's problems.
Seaga said that the same "brainwashed mentality", which proclaimed that everything from the "Great House" was good and better, was the same one dictating that "imported investments, imported socialism, imported federalism, imported IMF dictates, and imported globalisation" are all good and better.
"They are, but only in part. We must determine what is good and reject vehemently what is not, or we will become modern day slaves to new masters in a new colonial-like regime, making true independence a fiction," he told Parliament.
The veteran parliamentarian was responding to nearly three hours of tributes from his former colleagues at Gordon House, during the special sitting of both Houses of Parliament honouring him for his contribution to Jamaica's post-Independence development, as well as his 45 years as the longest-serving member of the Jamaican Parliament in history.
Tributes were given by both Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, as well as other members of both Houses during the sitting. They all paid tribute to his performance as a parliamentarian as well as his achievements as minister of development and welfare, 1962- 1967; minister of finance and development, 1967-1972; and prime minister and minister of finance, 1980-1989.
Simpson Miller called him "a good and faithful servant of Jamaica for more than 50 years", who had defined the most remarkable standards of public service.
Holness, who now heads the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) that Seaga led for some 31 years up to 2005, thanked Seaga on behalf of the JLP, describing him as "a practical man" for whom Jamaica is better off for having produced.
Seaga listened to the tributes, stonefaced for the most part, dressed in a dark suit and grey tie. With him were his wife Carla, and his younger daughter Gabrielle.
Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, Seaga's political rival for many years, was seated immediately behind him.
Seaga was given a rousing ovation by the parliamentarians when he rose to speak, and he did not disappoint in an approximately 40-minute address.
He said that Jamaica's misfortune is that policymakers have little agreed policies or agreed principles on which to devise sustainable policies which would allow them to pass the baton successfully from one to the other.
"Hence, the end product of the relay is a non-productive passing of batons that are fumbled and dropped, and runners who take two steps forward and two steps backwards," he explained.
"Time now to stop following and fumbling, time to lead the way," he said.