JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has described former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, as a father, friend and source of inspiration and strength.
  • Mr. McKenzie was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House on May 28.
  • 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.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has described former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, as a father, friend and source of inspiration and strength.

Mr. McKenzie was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House on May 28.

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.

The Minister’s contribution coincided with the official announcement of Mr. Seaga’s passing.

“I am standing here with my heart shattered. He was a man who inspired me all my life,” said an emotional Mr. McKenzie, who hails from West Kingston where the former Prime Minister was Member of Parliament from 1962 until his retirement from active politics in 2005. Mr. McKenzie is now the Member of Parliament for the constituency.

He recalled that Mr. Seaga gave him the opportunity as a little boy to propose a toast at his wedding reception at Vale Royal in 1965. “I remember it was the first time in my life I put on a suit,” he said.

The Minister noted too that Mr. Seaga allowed him to travel with him both locally and internationally.

“You gave me this opportunity. I remember when he visited the White House… I was able to go into the Rose Garden, and not many of us will get that opportunity again. And today, my contribution in the Sectoral Debate, I am dedicating to the Most Hon. Edward Phillip George Seaga,” the Minister said.

Mr. McKenzie noted that Mr. Seaga gave almost 60 years of his life serving people.

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 in 2010.

He served as President of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club, and chaired the Premier League Clubs Association.