Seaga's controversial, funny moments
In this October 16, 2002 file photo, former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga leaves a polling station after voting in the general election, in Kingston, Jamaica. Seaga, who shaped the island s post-independence politics and cultural life, died Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Seaga was 89. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)
Late former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga was not a man known to mince words. Despite the fact that his contribution to national development cannot be hidden under a bushel, his tenure as a politician was not without controversy.
Loop News will look back at some of the controversial and funny moments of the political life of the man who declared himself the 'one don'.
1. The Black Scandal Bag: During the political campaign of 1993, Seaga exhibited a black scandal bag purportedly in reference to scandals that plagued the People's National Party-led government at the time. However, it was widely interpreted as a racially charged comment and some political pundits believe that was responsible for his party’s heavy defeat to the PJ Patterson-led PNP at the polls.
2. 'If you want to know about my bill of health, come look inside the crib at my yard' – Seaga again waxed lyrical during a political campaign in the 1990s after his opponent presented a clean bill of health and questions were floating around about his state of health.
3. Mountain Top: Seaga was a man of queer humour and, during the 1970s, once had the House of Parliament in stitches when he threw a barb at then Prime Minister Michael Manley who had pledged to walk hand in hand with Cuban President Fidel Castro to the mountaintop. “Mr Speaker when the Prime Minister said he was going to the mountain top, I did not know he was going to take the cost of living with him,” he said.
4. 'Blood for blood and fire for fire': In the 1960s, Seaga infamously threatened Norman Manley and the PNP with “Blood for Blood and Fire for Fire”, triggering controversy due to its apparent violent undertone.
5.'Light a candle, sing a sankey': After beating back the challenge of the so called ‘gang of five’ inside his party, Seaga famously invited the dissidents to 'light a candle, sing a sankey, and find your way back home'
6. Heckled in Maverley – During the 1993 political campaign, Seaga survived a scary moment when, during a visit to the then politically charged community of Maverley in St Andrew, his vehicle was attacked by overzealous female supporters of the People’s National Party. They rocked his vehicle from side to side and hurled insults at him. The boisterous women were eventually fended off by Seaga’s bodyguards and other members of the security forces.
7. Drinking beer in Rema – Seaga also came under fire after he reportedly went into the community of Wilton Gardens and drank beer with men who were believed to be from his stronghold of Tivoli Gardens and the perpetrators behind an attack on that community.
8. Dodging the bullets in West Kingston – A fearless Seaga escaped unscathed after gunmen from opposing sides of the political fence squared off with each other during one of his walks through the PNP stronghold in his West Kingston constituency. As gunshots rang out Seaga was protected by his bodyguards led by the then fearsome Keith ‘Trinity’ Gardner.
9. Ceasefire - In 2001, a police team led by Senior Superintendent of Police, Reneto Adams, was under heavy gunfire from gangsters in Tivoli Gardens for hours before the gunfire reportedly ceased temporarily due to the arrival of the then Member of Parliament for West Kingston and Opposition Leader, Edward Seaga, who offered the officers a safe passage out of the community. The police refused Seaga's offer and he left only for the gunfire to resume. Twenty-seven people died in the standoff.
10. 'Bruce Golding is a vacillator' – In 2004, months before he stepped down as Jamaica Labour Party leader, Seaga charged that his successor to the reins of the JLP was indecisive.
11. ‘Nobody never sing Boom Bye Bye fi me yet.’ – Seaga made this quip from a political platform in 1993 in an apparent jab at a political opponent whose sexuality was in question while he was leader of the opposition in 1993.
12. 'Tainted money' - Controversy erupted in 2003 after Seaga raised questions about the legitimacy of funds secured by a JLP politician to run a campaign for the election of deputy leader.