Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Jamaica still paying price for Seaga premiership

Published:Saturday | March 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Edward Seaga's 1980s leadership caused Jamaica long-lasting harm. His premiership should be a source of mourning, and current Prime Minister Andrew Holness should not be seeking to honour Mr Seaga.

Those who watched the social history of Jamaica, in the late 1970s and '80s, will be struck by the close relationship between Mr Seaga and Henry Kissinger's US State Department. Many Jamaicans believe that collusion between Mr Seaga and the US State Department was responsible for the 1970s shortage of staple foods and products, and that he was culpable for escalating political violence and entrenchment of garrison leaders, who thrived from the proliferation of small arms. It was the covert intervention of the US that brought down the visionary and independently minded government of Michael Manley.

As the victor of the 1980 elections, Prime Minister Seaga's policies turned Jamaica into a province of the United States, attracting US corporate investment, global brands and subsidised diary and agricultural products flowed into Jamaica. Jamaica's high-quality diary industry was undercut and damaged by the cheaper imported US products. Jamaica is still paying the cost of Mr Seaga's leadership.

CHAKA ARTWELL

Oxford, England