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Houses of Parliament pay tribute to Edward Seaga

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips, former prime ministers Bruce Golding and P.J. Patterson and Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson
 
There were more tributes on Wednesday for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
 
At a joint sitting of both houses of parliament, the members remembered Mr. Seaga the man, politician and nation builder.
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the tributes will help to set the record straight as Mr. Seaga was often misunderstood. 
 
"There is no question about his skillful and diligent management of the economy to return to 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 often misrepresented. He was very much conscious of this and in later life, took great care to document his work and contributions. Our tributes today offer a great opportunity to put Mr. Seaga in true context," he said.  
 
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said he valued Mr. Seaga's insight during his tenure as Minister of Finance. 
 
"Over his six decades of political engagement, Edward Seaga, I believe, was both changed and was changed by the social and economic environment in which he lived and worked. The firebrand of the early years matured into an institution builder and a guardian of our constitutional democracy. He became an elder statesman in his later years. I as Minister of Finance, without any fanfare, he would often call, unsolicited, with his suggestion as to what ought to be done, how to pursue the discussions with some of our international partners," he recalled.     
 
Bruce Golding and P.J. Patterson 
 
Two former prime ministers also paid tribute to Mr. Seaga during Wednesday's special sitting of Parliament.
 
The man who took over from him at the helm of the Jamaica Labour Party in 2005, Bruce Golding, said Mr. Seaga had left an enormous legacy.
 
He declared that no contribution by a Jamaican has spanned a broader spectrum of economic and social life than that made by Mr. Seaga. 
 
"As Ted Kennedy eulogised of his brother Robert Kennedy, so too can it rightfully be said of Edward Seaga that he was a man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it; a man who when others saw things as they were and asked why, dreamed of things of didn't exist and asked why not," he said. 
 
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson described Mr. Seaga as a political rival who earned his respect through his tenacity and his willingness to give of himself to Jamaicans.
 
Mr. Patterson noted that in addition to the many institutions established by Mr. Seaga, the former leader also introduced and passed more legislation than any other government minister.
 
He said Mr. Seaga had left a remarkable foundation and future generations must "build on this monumental record of loyalty and service to creating a peaceful, strong and bountiful Jamaica, land we love."
 
Tom Tavares-Finson 
 
Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson regaled the joint sitting with tales of Mr. Seaga's bravery during some of the years in Jamaica's history which were characterised by political violence.
 
He recalled when a Jamaica Labour Party motorcade came under gunfire as it headed towards Tivoli Gardens in the West Kingston constituency held by Mr. Seaga for decades. 
 
He said after the gunfire had ceased, and while everyone else in Mr. Seaga's car was frightened, Mr. Seaga exited the vehicle and said to him: "Ask Mitsy if the air condition in the front room is working." 
 
Taken aback that that was Mr. Seaga's thought after coming through heavy gunfire, Mr. Tavares-Finson said he asked: "Big man, you nuh hear the whole heap a gunshot weh you come through?". 
 
Mr. Seaga responded: "Always remember that if you hear the shot, you haven't been hit."    
 
However, the stories took a serious turn when Mr. Tavares-Finson spoke about the 1976 state of emergency under the Michael Manley administration, noting that the people of Jamaica as well as some JLP members, who spent almost a year at Up Park Camp, deserved an apology. 
 
The nation on Wednesday began observing four days of mourning in honour of the life and service of Mr. Seaga.
 
The State Funeral for the former Prime Minister will be held on Sunday beginning at noon, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. 
 


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