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Knight: Edward Seaga Highway needs a deed poll - Opposition Senator wants it named after Kingsley Thomas

Published:Sunday | July 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/ Senior Staff Reporter
Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga (fourth left) poses with Prime Minister Andrew Holness (third right) shortly after the naming of the North-South leg of Highway 2000 in Seaga’s honour on June 12. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Tian Qi, Chinese ambassador to Jamaica; Norma Walters, custos of St Ann; Carla Seaga; Juliet Holness; Olivia Grange; and Desmond McKenzie.

Opposition senator K.D. Knight wants the Government to carry out a deed poll and rename the Edward Seaga Highway the Kingsley Thomas Highway.

The North-South leg of Highway 2000 was recently named after former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, but in the Senate last Friday, Knight argued that it should have been named after Thomas, who conceptualised the highway.

Thomas, a long-time public servant, was the chairman of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company at the time work started on Highway 2000.

"History is going to condemn those who named the highway as they did," Knight declared in the Senate during a debate on two resolutions relating to the operations of the toll roads in Jamaica.

"I don't believe that the name it carries is the name that it should carry, and I have every regard and respect for the person after whom it has been named," added Knight.




He argued that the naming of the North-South highway after Seaga was based on politics.

"It is wrong, very wrong, unfortunate and unkind to have named the highway as they did."

Knight reasoned that if the history had been recognised, then it would be clearly seen that it was improperly named.

"I am about to act by deed poll to change the name," he quipped, triggering loud laughter across the aisle.

He said with due respect to his party allegiance and commitment to former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the "road should be named the Kingsley Thomas Highway because it was Kingsley Thomas who fought hard to get that highway going, as he did for the East-West [segment]".

He noted that a leg of the East-West Highway was named after former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson under whose leadership work on Highway 2000 was started.

"They think they have named this highway after one person. It is the heights of political hypocrisy. I really feel very strongly about it, you know, because I know how hard Kingsley Thomas had to fight to get this through."

Knight urged the St Catherine Municipal Corporation to erect a sign at its end of the highway in St Catherine with the inscription of Kingsley Thomas. He dared anyone to remove it after its erection.

The People's National Party had protested the naming of the highway after Seaga, charging that it should honour Simpson Miller, under whose administration the project started.

However, Seaga had said that the highway, which connects St Catherine and St Ann, also links to two of the biggest projects that he had done while he was minister and prime minister.

He named the building of the Kingston waterfront and the virtual recreation of Ocho Rios as the two projects.