Dr. Phillips was reacting to the news that Former Prime Minister Edward Philip George Seaga died at 1:00 pm today at hospital in Florida.
Born on May 28, 1930, Mr. Seaga died on his 89th birthday. He served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1989, and was the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as Leader of the Opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.
"He was the last surviving member of the original select committee which drafted the Jamaican Constitution in 1962, a responsibility that gave an indication of the scope and scale of the subsequent impact of his contribution to Jamaican life.
Over the years, Mr Seaga never lost his love for, and close attachment to Jamaican music and the religious culture. He was, without doubt, a forerunner in the development of Jamaican music.
Dr Phillips said Mr Seaga's role in nation building spans several sectors. He was a force behind the building out of a number of key institutions of modern Jamaica, including the Urban Development Corporation, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the Heart Trust andMetropolitan Parks and Markets.
"Among his greatest monuments are Tivoli Gardens Housing Development, Tivoli Comprehensive High School, the March Band and Dance Troop and his beloved Tivoli Premier League Football Club. He famously said on his political retirement that these institutions were too important for him “to leave”.
In Tivoli Gardens, he can be credited for establishing an alternative vision of urban lifestyle for Jamaica’s poor.
Long after his retirement from political life, Mr Seaga devotedhis time to research and engaged the public through regular newspaper commentary and a book which will serve generations to come. Never afraid of the limelight nor shying away from controversy in the national discourse, he was undaunted in defending his ideas even in the face of strong opposition.
“He sustained many friendships across political lines and was instrumental in stirring very significant discussion in economics, politics and many other subjects.
We exchanged many views over the years and he was always ready to share his experience as Minister of Finance,’ Dr Phillips said.
“On behalf of the People’s National Party and on my own personal behalf, I express condolences to his wife Carla, his children and other family members, his colleagues in politics, sports, music, research and education and his many friends across the length and breadth of Jamaica. We did not always agree on issues, but his contribution to Jamaica and his love for the people and the culture of Jamaica cannot be questioned.” Dr Phillips said.
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