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Seaga: Little to show for independence

KINGSTON — Jamaica has not progressed much as a nation after 50 years of self-governance, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga has said.

Addressing editors and reporters at the Jamaica Observer’s Monday Exchange held at the newspaper’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters, Seaga – who served as prime minister from 1980 to 1989 – said that gains had been made in only a few areas, and much had not been achieved to allow the economy to breathe healthily.

Quizzed whether or not Jamaica had much to celebrate as a nation after 50 years, the outspoken former prime minister was forthright in his response.

“I’m the worst person for you to ask that, because I have spoken on this particular topic so many times, and written on it, that we made one step forward and taken one step backward,” Seaga stated.

“It is true that we have four areas that we have done well in, and they are easily identifiable – the music industry, athletics, tourism and mining – those are the four highlights.

“But the economy is worse off, the justice system is worse off, the education system is worse off, so how do you balance that out?” asked Seaga.

Admitting that all was not lost to set the island’s affairs right for the next 50 years, Seaga said that much work and commitment had to be put in for Jamaica to achieve tangible results over the next half-century.

“Quite frankly, there are things that have to be done to put those things right that we have to do in this next 50, because if you don’t do that I don’t know what will really happen to the country,” said Seaga, who serves as Chancellor of the University of Technology and distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies.

As for the songs in the spotlight for ‘Jamaica 50’, which have resulted in controversial ‘bells’ being sounded, Seaga said that a public opinion poll could have been used to determine which of the two would have been seen as better by a majority of Jamaicans. (Observer)

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