PM Harris’ Statement on the Passing of the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, Jamaica’s Fifth Prime Minister and Longest-Serving Member of Parliament
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris of St. Kitts and Nevis extends heartfelt condolences to the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean on the passing of the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister (1980-1989) and longest-serving parliamentarian, who was a successful record producer before entering politics. He died yesterday, Tuesday, May 28th, 2019, his 89th birthday.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts to Lebanese-Jamaican parents, Edward Seaga would go on to lead the Jamaica Labour Party for over 30 years (1974-2005). Mr. Seaga renounced his American citizenship during his early life and became the youngest person at the age of 29 to be appointed to serve in the Legislative Council. He was also the youngest of the founding fathers who were architects of the Jamaican Constitution, as well as the last surviving member of that cohort.
“A strong sense of both regionalism and responsibility permeated the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga’s leadership style and politics, resulting in him being widely admired and respected as an influential force within the Caribbean Community,” the Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said yesterday as he reflected on the beloved and charismatic statesman’s remarkable life and political career.
Prime Minister Harris further noted that the 1982 Heads of Government Conference elected Prime Minister Edward Seaga as its Chairman at what was a pivotal time.
“Notably, Prime Minister Seaga’s assumption of the chairmanship of CARICOM ushered in a dynamic era characterized by an increased momentum for regional integration,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding, “This translated into more frequent meetings of Heads of Government, and the approaching 10th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was signed on July 4th, 1973, also heightened the drumbeat among the band of Caribbean leaders.”
Prime Minister Harris said yesterday that, “My Colleague Heads of Government and I will always carry Edward Seaga’s hopeful message in our hearts as we strive to maintain the standing of our region as a zone of peace and stability buttressed by respect for human rights and democracy. These are guiding principles from which we shall never depart, and we will long remember the crucial role that Edward Seaga played in establishing them.”
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis extends deepest sympathy to the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga’s wife, Carla, their daughter, Gabrielle, and his children, Anabella, Andrew and Christopher with his first wife, Marie Constantine.