January 21, 2005
Seaga bids final farewell to the House

by Omar Anderson, Gleaner Writer

IT WAS a rather pensive if not sombre mood inside Gordon House Tuesday where Edward Seaga made his final bow as Opposition Leader, and as a Member of the House of Representatives for more than 40 years.

From as early as 1 p.m., residents from West Kingston, the constituency Seaga had represented for more than four decades, swarmed the top of Duke Street to say farewell to their MP.{{more}}

Seaga is to assume a senior academic post at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

There was only standing room inside the chamber and the visitors’ gallery was packed with many of Seaga’s supporters and even some of his detractors who came to pay their respects.

Sitting just metres away from the Opposition Leader were his wife Carla, his ex-wife Mitsy, both of whom flanked Seaga’s sisters Fay Tortello and Jean Anderson.

Both sisters cried openly, moments after Seaga made his last wave to colleagues in the chamber and following his hour-long reply to the many tributes from both sides of House.

“…A good leader always does whatever he asks his followers to do, and now I can light my candle, sing my sankey, and go to my home,” Seaga said to thunderous applause.

With that, he shook hands with House Speaker Michael Peart; Prime Minister P.J. Patterson; Derrick Smith, Leader of Opposition Business; Audley Shaw, Opposition spokesman on finance; and Finance Minister Dr. Omar Davies.

Seaga hugged Local Government Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition MPs Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Shahine Robinson, and Verna Parchment. He also shook hands with other Opposition and Government members who had joined the entire House in a standing ovation.

Seaga then walked to the front door, faced the House Speaker and made his final bow. He then exited the chamber.