Jamaica Defence Force soldiers carrying the casket with the body of former prime minister Edward Seaga. (Picture courtesy Jamaica Observer)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – A strong representation of Government officials was on hand late Sunday at the Norman Manley International Airport to receive the body of late former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga.
The casket bearing Seaga’s body, draped in the National Flag and escorted by members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), arrived aboard a Caribbean Airlines flight from the United States, where he died in a hospital on May 28 on his 89th birthday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness headed the officials observing the proceedings as JDF soldiers removed the casket from aircraft and placed it in the waiting hearse for transportation to the funeral home.
A Guard of Honour was also formed by members of the JDF during the ceremonial reception.
Also attending were Members of the Cabinet, leader of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips and others.
The former Prime Minster has been accorded a State funeral, details of which are expected to be announced shortly.
Seaga, who at the age of 29, became the youngest person to be nominated to the Legislative Council (later the Senate), was the last surviving framer of the Jamaican Constitution.
Jamaica’s fifth prime minister, from 1980 to 1989, also served as the leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from 1974 to 2005 when he retired from active politics.
He was an honorary distinguished fellow at the professorial level at The University of the West Indies (UWI) and also serves as chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, Seaga 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.
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, he also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry. (CMC)