Four Days of Mourning in Jamaica Before Former Prime Minister is Laid to Rest

Members of the public file past the casket of late former Prime Minister, Edward Seaga at the Jamaica Labour Party’s headquarters, where the body was lying-in-state. (Photo credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday June 6, 2019 – Jamaica will begin a four-day period of official mourning from June 19 for late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, leading up to his state funeral.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange made the disclosure at a press conference earlier this week, during which she said Seaga’s funeral service is set for June 23 at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Kingston and his remains will be interred at National Heroes’ Park.

Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth prime minister, died at a hospital in Miami, Florida on May 28, his 89th birthday. His body was flown home Sunday evening aboard a Caribbean Airlines flight which was received by his family, and Government and Opposition officials.

Edward Seaga died last week on his 89th birthday.

Minister Grange said Government social activities are to be put on hold during the June 19-22 period of mourning, travel by State officials will be limited, and flags are expected to be flown at half-mast.

Condolence books are open at the Houses of Parliament until June 21.

There will be several activities leading up to the funeral of the former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader.

His body will lie in state at several locations – including the JLP’s headquarters, the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, the St John’s Anglican Church in Ocho Rios, the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre in Kingston, the Denham Town Community Centre, and the National Arena in Kingston – but the casket will be closed in accordance with the request of Seaga’s family. The public will be allowed to file past the casket at each location.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness led mourners in paying respects to Seaga at the JLP headquarters yesterday.

He signed the condolence book before viewing the casket wrapped in the national flag, while soldiers stood guard.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness signs the condolence book. (Photo credit: JIS)
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right), is greeted by the Edward Seaga’s widow, Carla Seaga, before viewing the body. (Photo credit: JIS)

On June 19, both Houses of Parliament will offer tributes in a special sitting for Seaga, who was prime minister from 1980 to 1989; led the JLP from 1974 to 2005; and represented the West Kingston constituency for 43 years.

In addition to helping to frame the country’s constitution in 1962, Seaga played a significant role in the review of that constitution that led to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in 2011.

In 2005, when he retired from active politics, he was appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the University of the West Indies (Mona), whose Research Institute had earlier been named in his honour.

In 2008, he was appointed Pro-Chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica, and two years later he became the institution’s second chancellor.

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