Edward Seaga

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Edward Seaga, a politician and well known statesman, the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, a man who led the Jamaica Labour for many years, born on the 28th of May 1930 in Boston Massachusetts Mr Seaga served as leader of the opposition for a number of years.

 

Seaga is credited with building the financial and planning infrastructure of the country after independence, as well as developing its arts and crafts, and awareness of national heritage.

 

His parents Philip Seaga and Erna Maxwell returned to Jamaica when Edward was about three (3) months old. He attended the Woolmer’s Boy’s School, then a secondary schoold and later went to Harvard University in the United States and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in the Social Sciences.

 

He returned to Jamaica, where, while with the Institute for Social and Economic Research, at the University College of the West Indies, he conducted anthropological field studies in rural village areas miles away from the University’s upper St Andrew location. He was also a music promoter and producer; he supervised the recording of an album of ethnic Jamaican music in 1955.

 

In 1961, Seaga lived in West Kingston. He became deeply involved in its music scene and recorded some of its artists. In April 1962, Seaga was elected Member of Parliament for West Kingston, the waterfront area in the capital city.

 

Historically, it has been the oldest settlement in Kingston for poor, working-class residents, many of whom are unemployed which is still an issue in recent times. He held that seat for 43 consecutive years, until he retired, making him the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the history of Jamaica and the Caribbean region.

 

Bustamante named Seaga minister of development and welfare, at which Seaga served until 1967, when he became minister of finance and planning, after the sudden illness and unexpected death of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Donald Sangster. In 1974 he became Leader of the JLP, in which he served for 30 years; he was also Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition in various periods.

 

He became the region’s staunchest advocate of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, US President Ronald Reagan’s economic plan for the Caribbean. And Seaga led other Anglo-Caribbean states in opposing the left-wing Maurice Bishop regime in Grenada, enthusiastically backing, after Bishop’s demise, the October 1983 US invasion of the island.

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By the time indications of growth had started to trickle in, an impatient electorate which in much of the 1980s had lived through sharp cutbacks in social services and failures of several small businesses returned Michael Manley and the PNP to power in February 1989.

 

In the 1960s while he was Minister of Development and Welfare, Mr. Seaga gave popular music (Ska) its first exposure to the international music scene by promoting overseas tours of Jamaican artistes.

 

This laid the foundation for the international materialization of Reggae, now popular worldwide. But aside from politics, he had a private life; Mr. Seaga married Elizabeth Constantine, Miss Jamaica 1965 on the 22nd of August 1965. 

 

They have two sons, Christopher and Andrew and a daughter Anabella.  This marriage dissolved in 1995 and the following year, on June 14, he married Carla Vendryes.  They have a daughter.

 

A dedicated gardener and amateur landscaper, Mr. Seaga has translated his love for plants and flowers into the beautiful Enchanted Garden Resort, which has become a unique attraction in Jamaica.