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(JAMAICA GLEANER) — Edward Phillip George Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth Prime Minister and longest-serving Member of Parliament, has died.
He died in a Miami hospital today where he had been receiving treatment for cancer and related complications.
Today is his 89th birthday.
Seaga was the last surviving framer of the Jamaican constitution.
At the age of 29, the former prime minister became the youngest person to be nominated to the Legislative Council (later the Senate) where he served for two years before he became a Member of Parliament until his retirement in January 2005.
But even after his retirement, he remained active in the public arena, and, later that year, was appointed as a Distinguished Fellow of the University of the West Indies (Mona), whose Research Institute had earlier been named in his honour.
In 2008, he was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica and two years later he became the institution’s second chancellor after his predecessor, Lord Morris Handsworth, retired.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, the former prime minster was chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association, one of Jamaica’s governing football bodies, from its inception until 2010.
He also served as president of the football club of his former West Kingston enclave, Tivoli Gardens.
On May 15 when Prime Minister Andrew Holness visited Seaga in Miami, he enquired about Jamaica’s football programme and was updated by the Sports Minister Olivia Grange.
Seaga was born on May 28, 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts, while his Jamaican parents were on a visit to America.
When he was three months old, he was brought to Jamaica by his parents.
1965 – Married Marie (Mitsy) Elizabeth Constantine, the Miss Jamaica 1964
1995 – Divorced
1996 – Married Carla Frances Vendyres
Prime Minister Andrew Holness: I consider Mr Seaga my political father. He has been a great mentor, friend and guide in imparting the skills on strategic leadership and in building a nation. I owe him & indeed Jamaica owes him a debt of gratitude. He will forever remain in our hearts and minds. #RIPMrSeaga
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips: The Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and President of the People’s National Party, Dr Peter Phillips, has described Jamaica’s fifth former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga, as a giant in the cultural, social, economic life of independent Jamaica. Phillips says his passing today represents the end of an era in our political and social development. For close to sixty years, Mr Seaga was a gigantic and powerful presence, having started out as an anthropologist, he made his commitment to representational politics and became the first Member of Parliament to serve more than one term in Western Kingston, a seat he represented for a record 43 years, from 1962 until his retirement in 2005.
Governor- General Sir Patrick Allen: His Excellency Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen has expressed his deep sorrow at the passing of Edward Seaga, a former Prime Minister and one of the principal architects of Jamaica’s post-Independence governmental structure. Sir Patrick said Seaga’s long list of achievements in national and political leadership, enlightened policy development, and efficient implementation marked him as a strategic thinker and man of action. He further said the former prime minister evoked a brand of loyalty which was a combination of deep respect and unquestioned love. “Mr. Seaga leaves us a legacy of visionary leadership, sustainable institutional development, and a wealth of ideas and information. His formidable record of service will ensure the perpetuation of his contribution to the ongoing political maturing of our nation. “We extend our deepest sympathy to his beloved wife, Carla, to his children, grandchildren, other close relatives and friends, and to all who grieve his passing here in Jamaica and across the world,” said the Governor General.