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Edward Seaga

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Preceded by  Michael Manley
Name  Edward Seaga
Succeeded by  Michael Manley
Education  Harvard University
Preceded by  Hugh Shearer
Grandparents  Elizabeth Campbell
Succeeded by  Bruce Golding

Edward Seaga diGJamaica Prime Ministers of Jamaica Edward Seaga

Preceded by  Hugh Shearer (1972–1974)
Succeeded by  Michael Manley (1980–1989)Bruce Golding (2005)
Role  Former Prime Minister of Jamaica
Spouse  Carla Vendryes (m. 1996), Mitsy Seaga (m. 1965–1995)
Children  Gabrielle Seaga, Andrew Seaga, Anabella Seaga, Christopher Seaga
Parents  Philip George Seaga, Erna Seaga
Similar People  Portia Simpson‑Miller, Bob Marley, Chris Blackwell, Ziggy Marley, Elizabeth II

Caribnation dr david hinds interviews former jamaican pm edward seaga

Edward Philip George Seaga ( or ; ON, PC; born 28 May 1930) is a former Jamaican politician. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.


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His retirement from political life marked the end of Jamaica's founding generation in active politics. He was the last serving politician to have entered public life before independence in 1962, as he was appointed to the Legislative Council (now the Senate) in 1959. 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.

Edward Seaga How to have a successful career in politics Jamaican

As a record producer and record company owner, Seaga also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry.

Edward Seaga Wyndham Petchary39s Blog

PICTURE THIS: Remembering Edward Seaga

Early life

Edward Seaga 10 things you didnt know about Edward Seaga Outlook Jamaica Gleaner

Edward Philip George Seaga was born on 28 May 1930, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Philip George Seaga, of Lebanese Jamaican descent, and Erna (née Maxwell), who was Jamaican of African, Scottish and Indian descent. His parents returned to Jamaica with Edward when the boy was three months old. He was baptised in Kingston's Anglican Parish Church on 5 December 1930. Erna was the daughter of Elizabeth Campbell (maiden name), daughter of John Zungaroo Campbell.

Edward Seaga Special Honor for Former Jamaican PM at Grand Gala Caribbean News

The young Seaga was educated at Wolmer’s Boys' School in Jamaica. He went to the United States for college, graduating from Harvard University in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts (Harvard AB) degree in the Social Sciences. Before he began his political career Edward Seaga was a music producer and promoter. He subsequently took a research post at the University of the West Indies.

Music industry career

Edward Seaga Visit of HIM Haile Selassie to Jamaica Reflections by Rt Hon

Seaga's research led to an interest in popular Jamaican music. In 1955, he supervised the recording of an album of ethnic Jamaican music. He continued to produce recordings by other artists and in the late 1950s set up West India Records Limited (WIRL), releasing early recordings by artists such as Higgs and Wilson and Byron Lee & the Dragonaires. Beginning in 1961, Seaga lived in West Kingston. He became deeply involved in its music scene and recorded some of its artists.

WIRL became the most successful record company in the West Indies. After being elected in 1962 as a Member of Parliament, representing the Jamaica Labour Party, he sold the company to Byron Lee. It was renamed Dynamic Sounds.

Over 16 years, Seaga worked on compiling a collection of Jamaican music covering the period from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. This anthology, Reggae Golden Jubilee Origins of Jamaican Music, was released on 6 November 2012 in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Jamaican independence.

Political career

Seaga's political career began in 1959 when Sir Alexander Bustamante, founder of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), nominated him to serve in the Upper House of the Jamaican Parliament, the Legislative Council (later the Senate). His appointment at the age of 29 made him the youngest member ever appointed to the Legislative Council. In 1961, he participated in drafting the Jamaican Constitution.

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. Employment is largely petty trading with some semi-skilled craftsmen. 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. He is the only person elected as Member of Parliament for West Kingston for more than one term, and has won 10 consecutive terms.

Immediately after winning his seat in 1962, Seaga was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of Development and Welfare, with responsibility for all areas of planning, social development and culture. He initiated the redevelopment of Back-of-Wall, a notorious large slum in West Kingston, and its replacement by housing, schools and community amenities, which was named Tivoli Garden, a model of community development. He also used his position to continue to promote Jamaican music. Following the 1967 General Elections, Seaga was appointed Minister of Finance and Planning. 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.

Edward P.G. Seaga became Prime Minister of Jamaica following the General Election of October 30, 1980, when the Jamaica Labour Party won a landslide victory over the incumbent People’s National Party (PNP), with the largest mandate ever. The mandate of Seaga and the Jamaica Labour Party was renewed in the uncontested 1983 General Elections. He continued as Prime Minister until February 1989.

As one of the founding fathers in the framing of the Jamaican Constitution in 1961, Seaga has spearheaded far-reaching constitutional reforms since then. He initiated a re-write of the human rights section of the Constitution, to provide for a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms; creation of the post of Public Defender; and curtailment of some of the powers of the Prime Minister to provide a better balance of power between the executive and the parliament in the Jamaican system of governance.

Economic and financial development

Seaga established many of the financial institutions required in newly independent Jamaica to build a financial market for successful economic investment and growth, including the following:

  • 1967, first Jamaican majority-owned commercial bank - Jamaica Citizens Bank (JCB)
  • 1968, Jamaica Stock Exchange
  • 1969, decimalization of the Jamaican currency
  • 1969, nationalization of financial institutions - banks and insurance companies
  • 1969, Introduction of merchant banking
  • 1971, Jamaica Unit Trust
  • 1972 Jamaica Mortgage Bank

    1981 National Development Bank (NDB)

    1981 Agricultural Credit Bank (ACB)

    1982 Agro 21

  • 1982, Divestment Programme, commencing with lease of government-owned hotels
  • 1984, Self-Start Fund
  • 1985, Comprehensive Tax Reforms including a flat income tax rate for all
  • 1985, Solidarity Programme for micro-businesses
  • 1986, Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank)
  • 1986, De-regulation of economy, commencing with removal of import licensing; later price controls
  • 1986, Privatization of financial institutions - NCB
  • 1987, JAMPRO (formerly JNIP)
  • 1988, Digiport - first satellite telecommunications data processing operation - Montego Bay
  • 1988, One Million Trees Programme
  • Planning and development

    Rural and urban planning and the environment have been prime areas of development in Seaga's career. He has focused on waterfront development in the main coastal towns and cities, rural and urban township development programmes, and the development of parks and markets. They included the following:

  • 1963, 5-Year Development Plan
  • 1966, Redevelopment of Kingston Waterfront
  • 1967, Comprehensively planned urban communities - redevelopment of 'Back-o-Wall' slum as Tivoli Garden, a modern, fully planned urban development; Hellshire Hills development; Portmore Town centre; Torrington Park
  • 1967, Reclamation and development of Ocho Rios Waterfront (Turtle Beach)
  • 1968 Urban Development Corporation
  • 1969 Comprehensive development plan for infrastructure of many rural towns (later CRDTDP)

    1971 20-Year Physical Development Plan

    1983 National Conference Centre - headquarters of the International Seabed Authority

    1983 National Committee for Drug Abuse

    1985 MPM - Beautification and Public Cleansing

    1988 Reclamation of Montego Bay Waterfront

    1988 Negril development (Bloody Bay)

    1988 Social Well-being Plan

    Various Times Land Bank - purchase of 50,000 acres of prime properties for future development (Negril, Orange Bay, Auchindown, Mt. Edgecombe, Seville, Laughing Water, Belmont (Dunns River), Winifred Rest Home property, Caymanas, Hellshire Hills).

    Various Times Development of several hotels - Kingston Waterfront, Ocho Rios, Negril.

    Social programmes

    Seaga was the architect of a wide range of social programmes which expanded training in human resources, aided small enterprises and protected the poor and vulnerable.

    1963 Construction of the National Arena

    1963 Things Jamaican - craft development

    1963 Launching of the Drug Abuse Committee (later Council)

    1964 100 Village Community Development Programme

    1965 Community sports development on a structured islandwide basis

    1965 The Golden Age Movement

    1965 The National Volunteers

    1970 Student Revolving Loan Fund for Higher Education

    1971 National School Feeding Programme

    1972 Establishment of Jamaica Racing Commission and Jockey School

    1974 Institute of Mass Communication; later renamed Caribbean Institute of Media & Communication (CARIMAC)

    1982 H.E.A.R.T. (Human Employment & Resource Training)

    1984 Food Stamp Programme for elderly poor and lactating mothers

    1984 ARP - Administrative Reform Programme for fundamental Civil Service reforms

    1985 Golden Age Home for the elderly poor

    1986 L.E.A.P. (Learning for Earning Activity Programme) for street children

    1988 P.A.C.E. (Programme for Advancement of Early Childhood Education)

    1988 Residential Halls for UWI, UTECH and Cultural Training Centre

    Cultural programmes

    Seaga established in independent Jamaica most of the institutions to build cultural awareness and national identity, as well as develop arts, crafts and national heritage.

    1963 Jamaica Festival

    1964 Promotion to launch Jamaican music (ska) abroad

    1964 Return and interment of Marcus Garvey's body at Jamaica

    1964 Order of National Heroes - Garvey first named hero

    1964 National Heroes Park

    1965–69 - development of several museums: Arawak, Port Royal

    1967 Jamaica Journal publication (Institute of Jamaica)

    1967 Research and recording of folk culture

    1967 Devon House

    1968 National Heritage Week

    1971 Design of the Cultural Training Centre (Arts, Drama, Music, Painting & Sculpture)

    1972 Jamaica Racing Commission and Jockey School

    1986 Establishment of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC)

    1988 Planned development of heritage sites (Port Royal, Spanish Town, Seville)

    1988 Media Divestment Programme, to establish several small private radio stations and church television

    Institutional, parliamentary, political and constitutional reforms

    Seaga is recognized as the initiator of some of the most important political, parliamentary and constitutional reforms which affect governance of the country.

    1961 Member of the Parliamentary Commission which drafted the Constitution for independent Jamaica

    1979 Electoral reforms: structure of EAC

    1986 Establishment of Contractor General proposed in 1979

    1986 Media Commission

    1992 Constitutional Reform: Advocate General (renamed Public Defender)

    1993 Constitutional Reform: Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

    1994 Several Parliamentary reforms:

  • to strengthen the independence of Parliament
  • to allow non-Parliamentarians to address Parliament on issues
  • 1994 Money Bills tabled in Parliament to regulate money supply by law

    International programmes

    Jamaica is recognized for initiating several far-reaching international programmes within the Caribbean region and worldwide, due to Seaga's proposals to create new international agreements.

    1974 UNESCO International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (Culture Bank)

    1982 Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)

    1986 UNDP - United Nations International Short Term Advisory Resources - UNISTAR (Manpower Bank)

    1986 Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU)

    1986 CARIBCAN (Canada)


  • Parent Teacher Relationships, University of the West Indies, 1954
  • "Faith Healing in Jamaica", International Parapsychology, 1955
  • "Revival Spirit Cults", Jamaica Journal, Institute of Jamaica
  • The Origins of Jamaican Popular Music
  • Grenada Intervention: The Inside Story, 2009
  • Revelations: Beyond Political Boundaries, Lectures 2005–2009
  • Edward Seaga: My Life and Leadership: Clash of Ideologies, Volume 1, 2009
  • Edward Seaga: Shaping History: Hard Road to Travel, Volume 2, 2010
  • Recordings

  • Folk Music of Jamaica (album recorded by Ethnic Folkways Library), 1978
  • Reggae Golden Jubilee - Origins of Jamaican Music, released on 6 November 2012
  • Marriage and family

    On 22 August 1965, Seaga married Marie Elizabeth "Mitsy" Constantine, Miss Jamaica 1965. They had two sons, Christopher and Andrew, and a daughter Anabella. This marriage was dissolved in 1995.

    On 14 June 1996, he married Carla Frances Vendryes. Their daughter Gabrielle was born 16 September 2002. With a Masters in Public Administration, Vendryes Seaga has a special interest in sociological research and the development of Jamaican handicraft. She founded the Solidarity project to assist the poor in small entrepreneurial enterprises. She founded an organization to assist victims of violence.

    Personal life

    Seaga is deeply involved in cultural activities, particularly folk music and all aspects of things Jamaican. A keen gardener and amateur landscaper, he used his love for plants and flowers to develop the Enchanted Garden resort, a unique attraction in Jamaica.

    As an athlete, Seaga has played on several college and school teams: field hockey, cricket, football, rifle, tennis and swimming (diving). He participated as a member of various hunting clubs and the Jamaica Skeet Club.

    Civic activities

    In West Kingston, he became the president of the Tivoli Gardens Football, Basketball and Netball clubs. He recently became Chairman of the Premier League Football Association and the Professional Football Association of Jamaica, with responsibility for the 12 Premier League teams and the staging of the Premier League.

    Later years

    On 20 January 2005, Edward Seaga retired as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, a position which he held for 30 years. He retired as a Member of Parliament after serving for 43 years in the House of Representatives, in addition to two years in the Senate. He has the longest period of continuous service of any elected representative in the Caribbean region.

    With appointments to academia at the University of the West Indies, the Institute of Jamaica and the University of Technology, he became engaged in research and writing, as well as teaching and leadership.


  • Seaga was appointed as a Distinguished Fellow by the University of the West Indies, Fellow of the Institute of Jamaica, and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Technology
  • Honours and awards

  • 1980, Fortune Magazine named him as a "Man of the Year," the first and only such accolade to anyone in this region
  • In 1981, Seaga was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council.
  • In 2002, the Government of Jamaica awarded him the Order of the Nation, the second highest honour
  • In 2005, the University of the West Indies awarded him the honorary title of Distinguished Fellow for Life. He was also recently installed as a Fellow of the Institute of Jamaica, devoted to the arts and sciences.

  • That year, he was appointed as Chancellor of the University of Technology
  • Seaga has also been honoured by several countries:

  • 1981, Republic of Venezuela – Grand Collar de Libertador
  • Republic of Venezuela – Gold Mercury International Award; and
  • Republic of Korea – Grand Gwangwa Medal, Order of Diplomatic Service
  • 1982, Federal Republic of Germany – Grand Cross of the Order of Merit
  • 1987, MexicoOrder of the Aztec Eagle
  • He has received several prestigious international awards:

  • Gleaner Honour Awards: Man of the Year, 1980, 1981
  • Avenue of the Americas Association, N.Y. – Gold Key Award (1981)
  • American Friendship Medal bestowed by the Freedom Foundation, 1982
  • Pan American Development Foundation Inter-American Man of the Year Development Award (1983)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award (1984)
  • United Nations Environment Programme – the Environmental Leadership Award (1987)
  • Seaga is credited with having built more institutions and initiated more far reaching policies than any other political leader in the growth and development of Jamaica.

    Honorary Degrees:

  • University of Miami, LL.D. (1981)
  • Tampa University, LL.D. (1982)
  • University of South Carolina, LL.D. (1983)
  • Boston University, LL.D. (1983)
  • University of Hartford, LL.D. (1987)
  • References

    Edward Seaga Wikipedia