OPPOSITION LEADER Andrew Holness yesterday claimed that Edward Seaga "was the one who led the fight for the independence we now have".
"For a time, the independence we have now was not always the independence that was desired by all. For a time, the conventional wisdom was independence from colonial Britain and federated status under a federal union," Holness said.
He added: "Today we now celebrate political independence. Edward Seaga was the one who led the fight for the independence we now have. We must remind ourselves when others who wanted a different version of sovereignty now seek to claim independence as their doing, that were it not for the agitating of Edward Seaga, today we would not be celebrating the nationhood that we now dearly cherish."
Holness' declaration came yesterday during a special sitting of the House of Parliament to honour Seaga, held following a foul-up by Gordon House, which failed to properly invite him to a special joint-sitting of Parliament on August 2.
As Holness' pronouncement echoed throughout the Chamber, a quizzical frown appeared on the face of foreign affairs minister A.J. Nicholson, who immediately sought to have words with Dr Omar Davies who was seated ahead of him. Mindful of the unease, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller signalled to Nicholson to let it rest and he obliged.
Norman Manley and Sir Alexander Bustamante are widely accepted as the forefathers of Jamaica's Independence. The country gained Independence in 1962 from Britain.
Manley was a strong advocate for the Federation of the West Indies which was established in 1958. However, Bustamante and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) opposed it. Manley called for a referendum to let the people decide. The vote was decisively against Jamaica's continued membership in the Federation.
Manley, after arranging Jamaica's orderly withdrawal from the union, set up a joint committee to decide on a constitution for separate Independence for Jamaica.
Seaga is the only surviving member of that constitutional committee out of which the new Jamaica was born.