Tom Tavares-Finson was making his contribution to the debate on Mr. Seaga’s legacy which was held on the 19th June as the Joint Session of Parliament was convened to allow Members of both Houses to pay their respects to the 5th PM of Jamaica who died on May 28 on his 89th birthday. PM Holness opened the debate. By the Standing Order rules of Parliament he has to also close the debate. Mr. Holness outlined his relationship with
Mr. Seaga. “I worked for Mr. Seaga in his personal office and did research for him. He was meticulous and a hard taskmaster.”
1976 State of Emergency
“The PNP needs to apologize for the illegal state of Emergency that locked up Pearnell Charles Snr. and Olivia “Babsy” Grange to name a few. Some were held for close to one year in detention. Grange was separated from her baby for months”. His speech was punctuated by thunderous applause. Minister Grange had to compose herself as she openly wept.
Opposition member Philip Pauwell said “A truth and reconciliation Commission was long overdue … ” although not elaborating it was obvious that he was referring to the controversial 1976 State of Emergency imposed by Michael Manley which proved to be politically motivated. Opposition figures were among persons detained and a General was held that the PNP won.
This was a dark period in the life of Jamaica. Tom Tavares-Finson’s presentation left many mesmerised and appeared, based on reactions and views expressed seemed to have stirred up feelings of resentment, if not bitterness. This, in my perspective was the tribute of the day. One observer said ” Tom hit the nail on its head … he spoke what needed to be said”.
Vision will post a verbatim of Senator Tom Tavares-Finson’s speech when it comes at hand. We may even post the audiotape if this is released. It is worth listening to.
This was oratory at it’s best. Senator Tom Tavares-Finson is a Queen’s Council (high ranking Attorney at law).
We will bring you further reactions to the glowing tributes to Mr. Seaga in future posts.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is SIC for Vision Newspaper Canada.