Seaga being treated for serious illnesses, Holness confirms
In this June 2018 file photo, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga addresses the audience at the renaming ceremony of the North South Highway.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has confirmed that former Prime Minister Edward Seaga is being treated for "serious illnesses" at a hospital in Miami, Florida.
Holness, who along with Olivia Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, visited with Seaga on Wednesday, did not disclose the nature of the illnesses. However, Loop News has been informed by persons close to Seaga that he has been receiving treatment for cancer for some time. Seaga was travelling overseas when he was admitted to hospital last week.
It is of note that both Grange and Holness are very close to Seaga who is credited for their entry into politics. Both have listed him as their mentor.
In a statement from Jamaica House on Thursday, Holness noted that Seaga, who turns 89 on May 28, “is in positive spirits considering the physical effects of his illness and treatment.”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) greets Seaga at a JLP rally.
“I assured our former prime minister that Jamaica is in a good place and that our economic recovery is being carefully managed to ensure social equity and prosperity for the working class masses of the Jamaican people. I also passed on to him, the many expressions of concern, love, prayers and good wishes for him from the Jamaican people and from his former constituency of West Kingston,” Holness said.
He revealed that, among many other national and personal matters that were discussed, Seaga enquired of football, which Holness noted became a passion for him in his later life. Seaga currently serves as Chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association.
“Minister Olivia Grange, who was also with me, updated him and it generated a light moment where we all smiled and laughed,” said Holness.
“At the end of the visit, we all held hands and prayed with Mr Seaga for his improvement. He thanked us for lifting his spirit by visiting him and expressed his deep gratitude and love for the Jamaican people whom he served all his life,” Holness added.
He said the country’s fifth prime minister is under close medical supervision by a team of doctors including Jamaican specialists and nurses, and is surrounded by his family at this time.
He said the family conveyed that they are touched by, and thankful for the outpouring of love and support from the Jamaican people.
"They ask that we continue to hold up ‘Papa Eddie’ in our prayers,” Holness concluded.
Seaga is the last surviving member of the framers of the Jamaican Constitution. He served as JLP leader for 31 years and as Member of Parliament for West Kingston for 43 years from 1962 until his retirement in 2005, the longest ever by a Jamaican politician.
He was Prime Minister of Jamaica between 1980 and 1989.
He currently serves as Chancellor of the University of Technology where he was reappointed to a three-year term with effect from November 17, 2017.