'Seaga was an institution builder committed to Jamaica'

Tributes paid to late former prime minister at special sitting of KSAMC

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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THERE were glowing tributes at Tuesday's special sitting of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) that reflected on the life and work of the late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga.

Seaga, who was Jamaica's fifth prime minister, serving from 1980 to 1989, represented the constituency of Kingston West from 1962 until his retirement from active politics in 2005. He died on May 28, his 89th birthday.

Mayor of Kingston Councillor Delroy Williams, who led the tributes, noted that Seaga was instrumental in building many of the island's strongest institutions and “is undoubtedly our greatest institutional architect”.

He said the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Students' Loan Bureau, and the HEART Trust/NTA are among the flagship accomplishments of the former prime minister.

The mayor said the former legislator, who was one of the key architects of Jamaica's Constitution, which was framed in 1961, played a seminal role in the recognition of the country's music and culture. He noted, too, that Seaga laid many foundations that are still being developed.

“As a city, we are grateful for his work and vision. The redevelopment of Kingston waterfront is among our flagship targets for this administration, and it must be noted that the waterfront was the brainchild of Seaga from as early as 1967, and seeing its success, he went on to create the Urban Development Corporation in 1968 to replicate the vision in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril,” he said.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, meanwhile, hailed Seaga's crucial role in protecting the country's poorest and most vulnerable, particularly through the entrenchment of poor relief in the country's constitution.

He noted, too, that Seaga had been instrumental in compensation packages offered to representatives at the local government level, starting in the 1980s.

“Edward Seaga is synonymous to what development is all about,” he said, adding that he built institutions that benefited all Jamaicans.

Custos of Kingston Steadman Fuller, in his tribute, said Seaga's commitment and dedication to the country is unparalleled.

He noted that his contributions have impacted Jamaica in fundamental ways and will continue for many generations.

And visiting mayor of Miramar Wayne Messam encouraged Jamaicans to build on the legacy that was created by Seaga to ensure the prosperity of the country.

Minority leader of the corporation Councillor Andrew Swaby said the former prime minister was an institutional builder who was committed to Jamaica.

Councillor Donovan Samuels of the Tivoli Gardens Division said Seaga sought to uplift and improve the lives of many Jamaicans, particularly the residents of Tivoli Gardens.

For his part, Councillor Dennis Gordon said Seaga was a true patriot and visionary who used sports to build communities.

“The research further said that he was perhaps a better wicket-keeper. He didn't score a lot of runs for Wolmer's, but I can confess that he has scored a lot of runs for Jamaica,” he said.

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