KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport celebrated the 92nd anniversary of the birth of Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, with a floral tribute at his tomb at the National Heroes Park, Kingston, on Saturday, May 28.
The commemorative event saw a number of national leaders laying floral tributes in remembrance of the former prime minister, including: Prime Minister, Andrew Holness; Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding; Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Robert Montague; State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Alando Terrelonge, representing Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Minister of Local Government & Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie; Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke; the Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, Senator Delroy Williams; Mrs Edward Seaga – widow; Ms Gabrielle Seaga – daughter ; Prudence Spence-Heron, representing the JLP Caucus of Women, and Christopher Bovell, chairman of the board of the Edward Seaga Research Institute.
During his reflection, Holness described Seaga as a true democrat.
“My distinct recollection of him [and many others who would've had a far longer association and reflection with Mr Seaga] was that Mr Seaga was a democrat. He truly believed in democracy and the institutions of democracy and the ultimate exemplification of this would have been in 1983. Having all the seats in Parliament, there was no parliamentary opposition and there could never be a question that any of our democratic institutions were under my rule. The truth is and the records will show that Mr Seaga went overboard in many instances to make it illusively clear that his administration during that time would do everything to preserve democracy, including building innovations in the appointment of the Senate and other such innovations in government to protect our democracy,” Holness, said.
The commemorative event also saw tributes being made in dance, by the Tivoli Dance Troupe and in song, by Dwight Richards.
Born on May 28, 1930, Seaga was Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister, serving from October 1980 to February 1989. Through 43 years of service to the nation, the former prime minister played a fundamental role in shaping Jamaica’s post-Independence parliamentary landscape.
Described as a prolific, transformational leader, Seaga had the distinction of being the longest-serving Member of Parliament (MP) in the history of Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He represented the constituency of West Kingston from 1962 until he retired from active politics in 2005.
Seaga’s legacy began at age 29, when in 1959, founder of the JLP, Sir Alexander Bustamante, nominated him to serve in the Upper House of Parliament – the Legislative Council (later the Senate). Seaga was the youngest member to be appointed to serve in this capacity.
After winning his seat as MP in 1962, Seaga was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of Development and Welfare. Following the 1967 General Election, he was appointed Minister of Finance and Planning and in 1974 became the leader of the JLP, a capacity in which he served for 30 years.