Mon | Jun 25, 2018

Gov't names North-South highway in honour of Edward Seaga

Published:Wednesday | June 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga (third left) with Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) shortly after the Renaming Ceremony of the North-South leg of Highway 2000 to the Edward Seaga Highway. Also in the photograph (from left) are: Tian Qi, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Jamaica, Juliet Holness, wife of the prime minister; Olivia Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport; and Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and community development. The renaming ceremony was held in Unity Valley, St Ann yesterday.

The North-South leg of Highway 2000 was yesterday named the Edward Seaga Highway in honour of the former prime minister during an official ceremony at Unity Valley, Moneague, St Ann, where he was lauded for being a visionary.

Prime Minister Andrew Holnes praised Seaga, calling him an outstanding leader and statesman.

"Today we name this highway in honour of his contribution, his work, dedication, sacrifice, and his life," said Holness. "We memorialise his work and his legacy in a physical manifestation, and we inscribe his name on it that it may live on in the minds of those who own the future that they may be inspired by it and seek to make similar, if not greater, contributions to building our nation," he added.

 

SYMBOLIC MOVE

 

The highway, which spans several administrations, links two of Jamaica's key economic centres, Kingston and Ocho Rios.

"It is, therefore, symbolically appropriate to accord Mr Seaga this honour of naming the highway, which links two significant bodies of his work. However, I have another key message to deliver. Even outside of the symbolic appropriateness, Mr Seaga's indisputable body of work and service deserves recognition," said Holness.

"As we seek to build a nation, there must be space carved out in the competitive political landscape for magnanimity, respect for leaders, value for national sacrifice, and a certain decency and honour in public affairs," the prime minister stated.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange also spoke highly of her mentor, remarking that Seaga had left his legacy intact. She said that naming the highway in his honour was apt, arguing that his works and national achievements qualified him for the honour.

In response, Seaga said that Holness recognised the importance of the highway in linking the two major towns of Kingston and Ocho Rios and the impact it is likely to have on national development.

"I mentioned that because they have been two of the projects that I have created and perhaps the two greatest. But when it came to the fact that they were so easily joined I said, 'Well, that highway should be named after me," Seaga said. "And I wasn't embarrassed to tell the prime minister so. And in his wisdom, he realised it, and accepted it."

But while Seaga was being praised for his many roles that he played in the construction of modern Jamaica, supporters and a few officials of the Opposition People's National Party protested the action at the entrance to thoroughfare at the Mandela Highway.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com