Jamaicans began paying respect to former Jamaican prime minister, Edward Seaga, on Wednesday, as his body laid-in-state at the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) headquarters in St Andrew. Mr. Seaga’s body will also lie-instate over the next week in Montego Bay, TivoIi Gardens and the National Stadium.
Family’s wishes to close casket
However, according to reports, some Jamaicans are displeased, because the former prime minister casket will not be opened for public viewing. The reports indicated in accordance with the wishes of the Seaga family the casket will remain closed, while draped with the Jamaican flag. The public will be allowed to file past the casket at each location.
“Them say there is going to be public viewing of Mr. Seaga. But that is lie, because them not going to open the casket so people can see him,” Bertie Moses, a staunch JLP and Seaga supporter told CNW.
Paying their respects to Mr. Seaga on Wednesday were Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange; Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague and former Prime Minister, Bruce Golding. The government officials were greeted by Carla Seaga, wife of Mr. Seaga.
On June 19, both Houses of Parliament will sit in a joint session, starting at 2:00 pm as a tribute to the former legislator.
The funeral service will be held on Sunday, June 23 at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, which has, in the past, been the venue of state funerals and memorial services for prominent public figures, including former Prime Minister Michael Manley in March 1997.
During this period of mourning, Jamaican flags are being flown at half-mast in Jamaica and overseas, leading up to his burial at the National Heroes’ Park.
Condolence books have already been opened at the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Jamaica’s missions overseas.
According to reports, those displeased with the decision not to open the casket bearing Mr. Seaga while he lay-in state included JLP officials and Cabinet members.
In the past the caskets of former prime ministers, including Sir Alexander Bustamante and Sir Donald Sangster, were opened for public viewing while they laid-in-state.