KINGSTON, Jamaica – Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Edward Seaga, has again added his voice to Jamaica’s modern history with the launch Wednesday (Sept. 23) of two new books dealing with various aspects of Jamaican culture and the country’s part in the 1983 Grenada intervention.
The books, ‘The Grenada Intervention: The Inside Story’ and ‘Revelations: Beyond Political Boundaries’, have been written in partial fulfillment of his obligations as a Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. They were launched at a function attended by many present and former parliamentarians and other dignitaries at the Hilton Kingston.
‘Revelations: Beyond Political Boundaries’ is a collection of 27 addresses given by Mr. Seaga since taking up the position at the UWI in 2005, after retiring from active political life. In the book, Mr. Seaga draws on his experiences among the Jamaican people and as a politician to cover topics such as politics, culture, education, finance, the constitution and the Rodney Riots.
Former President of the University of Technology (UTech), Dr Alfred Sangster, who reviewed the book, described Mr. Seaga as an icon, and noted that the author “demonstrates the breadth of his interest and the extent of his involvement in our Jamaican life and experiences in his book.”
Also speaking at the launch, Principal of the Norman Manley Law School, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, said the fact that Mr. Seaga was launching two books on one occasion shows his commitment to organising ideas in a way that can be passed on to future generations.
“This is not a small commitment, for if our intellectuals do not put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, then future generations will be bereft of ready access to information and perspectives that constitute the core of Caribbean history.Mr. Seaga is putting down yet another marker symbolising his contribution to national and regional development,” he declared.
In reviewing ‘The Grenada Intervention: The Inside Story’, Professor Vasciannie pointed out that the book gives an account of Mr. Seaga’s role as then Prime Minister of Jamaica in the United States-led intervention in Grenada. In addition to being a historical account of the intervention, which led to the killing of Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and other members of parliament, it also presents various legal perspectives on the lawfulness of the invasion.
However, Professor Vasciannie noted that a major theme in the book was that “we are all humans; not atoms.” He explained that Mr. Seaga has shown that when the complexities of the Grenada intervention are removed, what emerges is that people forgot to treat each other as human beings.
Meanwhile, Mr. Seaga has promised that his long-awaited autobiography should be released next year in two volumes. He shared that he decided to write his biography because he recognised it as his duty as the longest serving politician, who would have been around for most of the milestones in the country’s history.
“I’m the only person alive today, who was there from in the late fifties, passed through all the policy making decisions at that time, passed through involvement in government then as what we know today as a senator, passed through the epoch of the 1960s as a minister of government, from there on as the leader of the opposition, then to prime minister and back to opposition. In all of those instances I had to be privy to all the decisions, which were being taken at the top,” he explained.
He emphasised that the book will be a work of history and not a political work. “The biography will be very revealing,” he stated, noting that “it uproots many common understandings and it plants new ones.”