• Feature
    President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Winston Lawson. (Photo by Nickieta Sterling)

    Story Highlights

    • Tributes continue to pour in from prominent leaders in western Jamaica, for the former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, who passed away on May 28 at the age of 89.
    • Mr. Seaga was one of the founding fathers who framed the Jamaican Constitution in 1961.
    •    He served as Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister from October 1980 to February 1989.

    Tributes continue to pour in from prominent leaders in western Jamaica, for the former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, who passed away on May 28 at the age of 89.

    Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Western Westmoreland and Businessman, Russell Hammond, tells JIS News that Mr. Seaga was an outstanding nation builder and astute political organiser.

    Mr. Russell, who served as MP from 1983 to 1989, during Mr. Seaga’s reign as Prime Minister, says Jamaica has lost a true patriot who has left an indelible mark on Jamaica’s political landscape.

    “I know that Jamaica has lost a tremendous son, who has made a remarkable difference in how people live in our country today. He became Prime Minister at a time when Jamaica was in dire straits, and I think Mr. Seaga’s leadership helped in correcting so much of the polarisation that existed just before that election in 1980. He was able to stabilise the country, both economically and politically,” Mr. Hammond adds.

    He tells JIS News that Mr. Seaga was a man who, without reservation, placed his country above self.

    “Even after losing that election [February 9, 1989], he continued to play a significant role in his leadership. Jamaica was and is the better because of Mr. Seaga’s leadership and involvement in politics, and we have a debt of gratitude to pay,” Mr. Hammond argues.

    Meanwhile, President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), Gloria Henry, is lauding Mr. Seaga as the visionary behind the genesis of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in western Jamaica.

    Ms.  Henry tells JIS News that Mr. Seaga was an “outstanding and accomplished Jamaican leader,  who did  tremendous service for this country,  in terms of his vision and in terms of the number of institutions that he either formed directly under his leadership,  or that he was instrumental in [helping to form], the Montego Bay Free Zone being one of them”.

    “[Mr.  Seaga] was the Prime Minister that gave the instruction for the development of the Free Zone to support the 807 garment manufacturing operations at the time, and that is what created the environment for the development of the BPO sector, which [currently] employs over 36,000 persons in Jamaica and generates up to US$500 million per year,” she notes.

    Ms. Henry says  she  is  pleased that the BPIAJ was able to recognise Mr. Seaga while he was alive, presenting him with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the development of the BPO sector, at the association’s first Outsource to Jamaica Symposium in 2018.

    For his part, President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Winston Lawson, in expressing his regret at the passing of Mr. Seaga, hailed the former Prime Minister as a visionary who made a significant contribution to the development of Jamaica.

    “We at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce are certainly saddened at the passing of the Most Honourable Edward Seaga. We have acknowledged his contribution to the country, the growth, and development of the nation. We would say his contribution is one of tremendous proportion, as it relates to culture, to music and his contribution, of course, throughout the political domain. We extend condolences to his immediate family and to his wider family, the people of Jamaica,” he tells JIS News.

    Mr. Seaga was one of the founding fathers who framed the Jamaican Constitution in 1961.

    He served as Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister from October 1980 to February 1989.