Thu | Jan 17, 2019

#JaVotes2016: Seaga puts on his green shirt again after 11 years

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2016 | 11:35 PM
Former JLP Leader and Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga greets the JLP candidate for Manchester North East Audley Shaw and James Roberston, the candidate for St Thomas Western - Rudoplh Brown Photo
Mike Henry, the Clarendon Central candidate takes to the front of the stage to demonstrate his flexibility - Rudolph Brown Photo.

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Former Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Edward Seaga took to the political stage for the first time in 11 years Sunday night, but his speech was hardly political.

"It is a big surprise," declared Jamaica's fifth prime minister as he stood before supporters at the JLP mass rally in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew.

"I never thought I would see the day when I would  come out in my green shirt again. When I retired in 2005, I took off the shirt and the shoes that I was wearing from the 70s."

But he said that something told him that he might have to put them on again one day.

"I am not here to tell you that I want to resume my political career," said Seaga. "Forty five years of unbroken service is enough."

Seaga declared though that he still has the love that makes him continue to take an interest in the people of Jamaica.

He told the rally that he was speaking on two issues which are dear to him.

The first, he said, was the rights of children and Jamaicans.

He said this was why he took so much interest in promulgating the Charter of Fundamental Rights that took 17 years to be passed in the Parliament.

Seaga stressed that the Office of the Public Defender needed prosecutorial authority to effectively carry out its function in ensuring that human rights are guaranteed to all Jamaicans.

He also urged the next government to ensure that no one will have to take to the streets to cry for justice.

"The only way you can get such a government is to have free and fair elections, for which the JLP struggled in the 1990s," said Seaga, noting that this was his second concern.

The retired politician lamented that of the 63 constituencies across the island, there are only seven machines to allow for electronic voter identification.

"This means that only seven of the 63 constituencies are protected," he declared.

Commending the JLP on a "well run campaign," Seaga ended: "The JLP is not dead. It is strong now. It is full of vim, vigour and vitality."