House observes minute of silence for Seaga

House observes minute of silence for Seaga

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness indicated yesterday that the thought of seeking a postponement of the sitting of the House of Representatives, following the death of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, crossed his mind.

“But, he is a man who believes in the efficiency and dignity of the State and he adheres to protocol, and so I hold the view that he would have wanted the business of Parliament to continue,” Holness told the House before legislators observed a minute of silence in memory of the man who served the country for more than four decades, including as head of Government from 1980 to 1989.

The prime minister said he was also influenced by the fact that the main speaker in the sectoral debate in the House yesterday was Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, a protg of Seaga and current Member of Parliament for Kingston Western, and that some of McKenzie’s constituents were already seated in the gallery to hear him.

Holness also informed the House that State protocol was already engaged, and arrangements are in place for Seaga’s body to be flown back to Kingston, from Miami where he died, at the earliest possible time.

“We expect that he will be accompanied by his wife and other family members, and he will be received by the Government, with the appropriate honour guard in place,” he said.

He also noted that Seaga’s body will lie in state to be viewed over a period of time prior to his state funeral, and there will be a special sitting of Parliament to allow members to pay tribute to him and his achievements prior to the funeral.

Also expressing regret in the House of Representatives yesterday were the Leader of Government Business Karl Samuda; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange; and MP Ronald Thwaites, who spoke on behalf of the Opposition.

Thwaites said that he grew to admire Seaga’s “graciousness, thoughtfulness, and his willingness to go beyond the normal hurly burly of partisan politics” after his retirement from active politics.

“And he displayed to me the true undeniably national spirit which had caused him to dedicate his life to Jamaica,” Thwaites added.

“Today is to commend his soul to the one who made him, saved him, and sustained him for us to gather to give thanks for his life,” he addd.

Grange recalled her close association with Seaga in Kingston Western where she grew up, and described him as the “kindest, most caring, most brilliant” man that she had ever known.

“I loved him dearly …Jamaica and the world have lost a great leader. Mr Seaga loved Jamaica. He loved the Jamaican people. He understood the value of our culture and our way of life,” she added.

Leader of Opposition Business Phillip Paulwell apologised for the absence of Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, who he said was unavoidably absent.

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