Revivalist, Muslim among 13 clergy for Seaga funeral
Thirteen ministers of religion will officiate at today’s funeral of late statesman Edward Seaga, including a Revivalist pastor affiliated with a brand of Afrocentric Christian worship much respected and cherished by the late former prime minister and anthropologist, but which often lies on the margins of Jamaican public acceptance.
Besides high-ranking ministers of traditional Catholicism and Protestantism, the funeral will be officiated by Bishop Anthony Cousins of the Afro Christian Revival Church, Israel Pinchas of the United Congregation of Israelites, and Sheik Musa Tijana, leader of the Islamic Council of Jamaica.
Bishop Dr Herro Blair of the Deliverance Evangelistic Association, who has credited Seaga for repositioning Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity from the periphery to the centre, will also participate in the funeral, which is scheduled to get under way at noon at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on North Street in downtown Kingston.
The funeral is expected to attract several local dignitaries and heads of state and government, including premier of The Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin; Belize Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber; and Sharlene Linette Cartwright-Robinson, premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Following the ceremony, Seaga’s remains will be laid to rest at National Heroes Park.
Work crews were busy yesterday giving the park and National Heroes Circle a facelift as painters, landscapers, and other labourers sweated under the searing sun.
As painters applied the final coat to the walls close to the entrance of Heroes Park, gardeners planted flowers on the outskirts of the grave and palm trees elsewhere, and foggers tackled pests.
Seaga’s body will face the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, of which he was a portfolio minister in 1974. Former prime minister and political arch-rival Michael Manley lies to the south, while Mallica ‘Kapo’ Reynolds, self-taught Revivalist painter, and comedienne Louise Bennett-Coverley will be right behind Seaga.
Contractor Mark Daley, whose team was commissioned by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, said he was elated to be involved in the grave-digging for Jamaica’s fifth prime minister and was intent on completing the maintenance work in time for the big day.
“The vault finish. We paint it and everything. It’s good to go,” Daley told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday morning. “Me just a paint this side o’ the wall weh facing Duke Street because it was falling apart and the entrance to the park. A car did crash there, so we cement it off and we going to paint it now,” he added.
Daley, who is in his 50s, said he was proud to play a part in the last rites for Seaga.
“It’s a joy and a privilege, and I can show people – I have photograph from when we start and everything – and we still have a role to play with the actual funeral, from the covering up of the vault and the cement at the top of it, and that is the final thing we have to do tomorrow,” he said.
Daley said that although he had only once met Seaga at a football match when he was 17 years old, he was often in awe of the larger-than-life persona he watched on television.
Sitting on a bench inside the park yesterday was Craig Brown*, 52, a furniture maker who lives in Allman Town, a stone’s throw away. Brown said that he took his six-year-old grandson to the venue because he wanted him to have a glimpse of history unfolding.
“Mi hear seh him (Seaga) a good man and thing, so me and him just come look what a gwaan. Him might nuh remember, but we will have pictures to say, yeah, we come up a Seaga funeral thing,” said Brown.
Seaga died on May 28 in Miami, Florida. He was 89.
* Not his real name.
* The Most Rev Kenneth D. Richards – Catholic Archbishop of Kingston.
* The Most Rev Howard Gregory –Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and Archbishop of the West Indies.
* The Rt Rev Robert Thompson - Anglican Bishop of Kingston.
* The Very Rev Kingsley W. Asphall - Rector, Holy Trinity Cathedral.
* Bishop Rev Christine Gooden Benguche – Methodist District of Jamaica.
* Rev Howard Thompson – Rector, Stella Maris Catholic Church.
* Bishop Dr Herro Blair – President, Deliverance Evangelistic Association.
* Pastor Everett Brown – President, Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
* Rev Peter Garth - President, Jamaica Evangelical Union.
* Rev Dr Patricia Holness – President, Jamaica Pentecostal Union.
* Israel Pinchas – President, United Congregation of Israelites.
* Sheik Musa Tijana – Leader, Islamic Council of Jamaica.
* Bishop Anthony Cousins – Afro Christian Revival Church.