|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
|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.
- Caribnation dr david hinds interviews former jamaican pm edward seaga
- PICTURE THIS Remembering Edward Seaga
- Early life
- Music industry career
- Political career
- Economic and financial development
- Planning and development
- Social programmes
- Cultural programmes
- Institutional parliamentary political and constitutional reforms
- International programmes
- Marriage and family
- Personal life
- Civic activities
- Later years
- Honours and awards
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.
As a record producer and record company owner, Seaga also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry.
PICTURE THIS: Remembering Edward Seaga
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.
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
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.
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:
1972 Jamaica Mortgage Bank
1981 National Development Bank (NDB)
1981 Agricultural Credit Bank (ACB)
1982 Agro 21
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:
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.
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
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:
1994 Money Bills tabled in Parliament to regulate money supply by law
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Honours and awards
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.
Seaga has also been honoured by several countries:
He has received several prestigious international awards:
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.