Wed | Dec 2, 2020

Joseph Willis | Seaga was no national hero

Published:Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 12:00 AMJoseph Willis/Contributor

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has been parading the figure of the country’s fifth prime minister, the Most Hon Edward Seaga, and has been allowed to continue their public showing by many, out of sheer respect.

It was reasonably foreseeable, through careful observation of the proceedings so far, that a case would be presented for him to be enshrined as a national hero. This is the country’s highest order, as was established by the National Honours and Awards Act of Jamaica in 1969 (Act No. 21 of 1969). Now, it must be noted that the nature of the order requires that the order be conferred upon a citizen who has rendered service of the most distinguished nature to Jamaica.

Edward Seaga is not distinguished enough to meet the tall order of national hero of Jamaica. His name brings to the recollection of many Jamaicans the horrors of the 1970s and 1980s when Jamaica experienced its most deadly political unrest in history.

Credible documented evidence has shown that Seaga, the JLP and their affiliated gangs and thugs (especially the Shower Posse gang) were largely responsible for the crimes and violence meted out on Jamaicans, which have been engraved in our country and have perpetually plagued us ever since.

The facts must be stated unequivocally, which is what all those who call for him to be named national hero have failed to do. I don’t believe that he remained the same person right throughout his political life and might well have regretted many of the things he did to this country in an effort to discredit the government of the day and win the votes of the people.

LAID TO REST

However, the bigger picture remains that a man who has a lot of dark clouds still lingering over his political career, and who has been directly or indirectly involved with acts of violence, not only injurious at a personal level but also at a national level, cannot now be named ‘National Hero’.

How can one be named national hero of a country that still can be seen suffering from acts he committed or authorised to be carried out? These acts were nothing short of treason so far as they were directly injurious to the welfare of the country. After being elected prime minister, Edward Seaga was unable to reverse the damage done.

It is time to lay him to rest and leave it at that. Stop the façade and the charade, as history is yet to absolve Edward Seaga for certain unspeakable acts.

Let’s not go down that road to uncover what we have laid to rest, as we try to move on as a country from that very dark political past. Let that which his laid to rest, rest in peace.

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