Kingston May 31, 2019 (JIS) - Members of the Senate, today (May 31), observed a minute of silence for the late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.
Mr. Seaga, who was Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister, died in a hospital in the United States on May 28, where he had been receiving treatment. He was 89 years old.
Senate President, Thomas Tavares-Finson, informed that a joint meeting of the Houses of Parliament will be held in tribute to Mr. Seaga.
“In due course, we will be notified of those arrangements,” he said, noting that at that time, members will be able to place on record their substantive tributes.
Acting Leader of Government Business, Senator Kavan Gayle, hailed Mr. Seaga as one of the builders of modern-day Jamaica.
“We are deeply saddened by his passing. We must commend him for the tremendous work that he has done for this nation,” he said, noting that Mr. Seaga devoted his life to serving his country.
“There are communities that would be in mourning now. His own West Kingston constituency that he developed, the musical fraternity to which he played a tremendous role, the Parliament, and in the latter part of his life, the tremendous contribution he made to the football federation,” he said.
He extended deepest sympathies to Mr. Seaga’s family in their moment of bereavement.
For her part, Leader of Opposition Business, Donna Scott-Mottley said Mr. Seaga is part of the political, social and economic fabric of the country.
“He is woven into the history. He is the last serving member of the committee that charted the course of Jamaica’s Independence. Although he was not born here in Jamaica, there is no one that can challenge the fact that you could not have found somebody more Jamaican. He impacted our music and impacted our culture, and history will show that he was into institutional building,” she said.
She said the relationship between Mr. Seaga and the people of Tivoli “was truly a paternalistic one, and I know that they are mourning, intensely, the loss of their father”.
Mr. Seaga was one of the founding fathers who framed the Jamaican Constitution in 1961.
He initiated a rewrite of the Human Rights section of the Constitution to provide for a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, and created the office of public defender.
The former Prime Minister was also a member of the first Parliament of independent Jamaica.
When Mr. Seaga retired from representational politics, he accepted a post as Senior Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, and was later named Chancellor at the University of Technology (UTech) in 2010.
He served as President of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club, and chaired the Premier League Clubs Association.
During the sitting, the Senate also recognised other outstanding Jamaicans who passed during the week.
They include former Chief Photographer at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Errol Harvey; political commentator and academic administrator, Martin Henry; Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor Stanley Shearer who is the brother of late former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer; and former President of the Methodist Church in Jamaica, Reverend C. Evans Bailey.