Edward Phillip George Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1980-1989 and Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from 1974 until 2005, is finally telling his story.
To mark Jamaica’s 48th anniversary of independence, Mr. Seaga travelled to South Florida on August 5, 2010 for the US launch of his autobiography, Edward Seaga My Life and Leadership Volume I: Clash of Ideologies 1930-1980.
As expected, the large reception space in the Pembroke Pines Broward College Library was jammed with staunch supporters, critics, and the curious. Now 80, a slightly frail Seaga, signed numerous copies of his book that was eagerly snapped up by the hundreds of Jamaicans that came out to see and hear the former JLP leader.
Having held the reins of government during what many refer to as Jamaica’s most tumultuous times, the former Prime Minister proclaimed that he is the only one that can tell the story.
“I have written this because it was my duty to do so. I am the only person alive who has occupied top offices in the country’s political life throughout that period (post-independence) and who, therefore, was part of every decision that was taken for or against the major policies that took place in the country. And therefore, I am the only one who knows what happened during that time”, the former Prime Minister declared.
“The events over the past years that I have written about are as fresh in my mind as if they happened yesterday… It is a life record of what happened and therefore only the truth is told in this book”, he added.
According to the author, Jamaica’s relationship with Cuba figures very greatly in this volume. The book also focuses on the turbulent 70s, a time when many Jamaicans left the island because of the political violence that gripped the nation as the two major parties fought for control.
Of course, he also discusses the 1980 elections, the bloodiest in Jamaica’s history, that led to his taking the helm of the country from the People’s National Party (PNP). Seaga’s “building”, transformation, and relationship with the residents of Tivoli Gardens also plays a major role in this book. He also touches on the island’s flirtation with socialism, its social structure, and human rights issues. Volume II (My Life and Leadership Volume II: Hard Road to Travel 1980-2008), which will continue his life and political times, is due out in November this year.
Continuing the celebration, Seaga and his wife Carla, were the honoured patrons at the Jamaica United Relief Association (JURA) Independence Dinner & Dance held at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel.
Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica came out in their finest to commemorate the island’s near half a century of independence. JURA President Dr. Vonnie McGowan Arscott and her team pulled out all the stops, surprising Mr. Seaga with performances from the award-winning Tivoli Dance Troupe and singing group Kahlil, winners of Jamaica’s Digicel Rising Stars program. The former Prime Minister was also treated to the amazing vocal talents of Jamaican singer Candy Isaacs, whose blindness has never stood in her way. Fittingly, the night continued with music from popular spinner Mark Swaby whose Independence songs and classic reggae kept the crowd on the dance floor till 1:00 AM.