The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has learned of the death of the Honourable Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica—1980 to 1989. The former Head of Government of the most populous Anglophone-Caribbean country died in the USA on this date, his 89th birthday. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, elected eighteen years following the independence of the first independent English-speaking Caribbean country. Prime Minister Gaston Browne has asked that the sympathies of the People and Government of Antigua and Barbuda be conveyed to the wife and family of former Prime Minister Seaga, and to the People and Government of Jamaica, on their loss of a very significant leader in the continuous evolution of Jamaica. The former Prime Minister led the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) into successful elections in 1980 and 1985, defeating the People’s National Party (PNP) of Michael Manley. Prime Minister Edward Seaga was the very first Head of Government to be invited to meet U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1982, shortly after the new President was inaugurated; that honour is usually reserved for Canada—the U.S.A.’s closest neighbour. His successful election of 1980 in Jamaica, signaled an ideological victory over the Jamaican/Cuban relationship that Prime Minister Seaga’s aborted upon coming to office.
Prime Minister Edward Seaga welcomed former Prime Minister Vere C. Bird to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in November 1982, when the Third Conference of CARICOM Heads was held. Antigua and Barbuda’s new Prime Minister addressed the Conference; the host Prime Minister responded to the newest Head of Government in a growing independent region. Prime Minister Edward Seaga is best remembered in the Eastern Caribbean for his role in ending the Grenada debacle of October 1983, when the Regional Security System led a mission to end the carnage that was taking place in the Spice Island. He would call the Heads of the RSS to persuade them to have their police and soldiers participate. He would also contribute Jamaican Defense Force personnel to the effort. The Caribbean has lost a son. The People of Jamaica have lost a servant.