Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday (June 19) led tributes to the late former Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Phillip George Seaga during a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament.
Prime Minister Holness noted that Mr Seaga was the longest serving member of the Jamaican legislature who loved the people of Jamaica.
According to Prime Minister Holness, Mr Seaga’s contribution to nation building can be seen in every area of Jamaican life including the economy, development, welfare, infrastructure, sports and culture.
The Prime Minister declared that the Most Hon. Edward Seaga had a deeper understanding of the culture of the people. In that regard, Prime Minister Holness asserted that Mr Seaga defined Jamaican culture.
“In many ways, he introduced Jamaicans to their own culture, brought it out of the dark and obscure, into the light of the mainstream to stand side by side with colonial culture. Thereby giving us a definition of who we are as a people and getting us to accept what we create as being valuable. He did this through his accomplishments with institutions dedicated to the promotion and preservation of our culture such as Jamaica Festival,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister said Mr Seaga served with passion in all areas and understood the people.
“He understood their rhythm and thinking, but he also understood their dreams and aspirations. No doubt his experience in Buxton Town would have led him to write the “Haves and the Have Nots” treatise when he became a member of the Legislative Council at 29 years of age. It would also have influenced his life passion to properly document and curate Jamaican culture, artefacts, art, and music,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister highlighted Mr Seaga’s achievement particularly in guiding Jamaica in turbulent times and improving the Jamaican economy.
“During Hurricane Gilbert, no one could question his firm marshalling of the national effort towards recovery. There is no question about his skillful and diligent management of the economy to return growth after the ’70s and after various external commodity price shocks in the mid-’80s. Yet, for these very strong qualities, he was misunderstood and quite often misrepresented. He was very much conscious of this and in later life took great care to document his work and contribution. Our tributes today offer a great opportunity to put Mr Seaga in true context,” added the Prime Minister.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness also recounted Mr Seaga as a mentor and a great leader and committed public servant.
“Mr Seaga was a kind man; he was kind to me personally. He took me as a youngster under his wing, he gave me exposure, opportunity and guidance. In later years he would be a wealth of advice and support. When we won the 2016 election, he made it a point of duty to step up on that stage and associate with the victory. He dearly loved his party and he truly believed that the political organization that he led and which I now lead can end poverty in Jamaica and lead this country to prosperity. He would often say that this country has too much going for it, too many resources available to it, to be a poor country and that I also believe dearly myself.”