Jamaica News: Trainees and staff of the HEART Trust/NTA were among the first in line to pay respects to late former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, at the National Area on Wednesday (June 19), where his body is lying in state for two days.
Representatives from training facilities all over the island came out to honour the man who established the institution they now attend.
Managing Director of the agency, Dr. Janet Dyer, told JIS News that Mr. Seaga launched the HEART Trust on November 4, 1982 as a place for the training of the country’s youth who could not afford tertiary studies.
She said that were it not for Mr. Seaga’s vision over 37 years ago in establishing HEART, thousands of the nation’s secondary-level school-leavers would not have been equipped to join the labour force.
“This programme, HEART, is the gem of programmes that Mr. Seaga implemented. I can say it is the gem because I benefited from it. I was one of the first set of students to have gone to HEART and now I manage the HEART Trust/NTA,” Dr. Dyer told JIS News.
She recalled that after graduating from high school, she was unable to pay for tertiary-level training and was introduced to the inaugural Runaway Bay HEART Academy.
“Upon completing my studies there, Mr. Seaga was instrumental in my getting a scholarship through the Jamaica Tourist Board, where I went away and studied abroad,” she told JIS News.
Dr. Dyer said that through Mr. Seaga’s vision, HEART continues to build a trained, qualified and globally competitive Jamaican workforce to meet the demands and challenges of globalisation.
In recognition of HEART Trust/NTA’s 30th anniversary in January 2013, the institution’s headquarters in New Kingston was renamed The Edward Seaga Building.
Amputee and former member of the Tivoli Dance Troup, Claire Reid, who was also in line, said that she could not miss the opportunity to pay her respects.
“He impacted my life very much because I’m living in Denham Town, and I was living in a one room with two children. Mr. Seaga assisted me with getting a two-bedroom house… and I give thanks for it,” Ms. Reid said.
Mr. Seaga served as Member of Parliament for West Kingston, where Denhamn Town and Tivoli Gardens are located, for 43 years.
The closed casket bearing Mr. Seaga’s body will return to the National Arena on Thursday (June 20). Members of the public can visit the location between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
The nation is observing a period of mourning in honour of the life and service of Mr. Seaga from June 19 to 22. No public social functions or official events should be held during the four-day period.
Both Houses of Parliament offered tributes in a special sitting on June 19, and a wake will be held at Tivoli Gardens Square on June 22.
The State funeral for Mr. Seaga will be held on Sunday, June 23, beginning at noon, at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, 1 George Headley Drive in Kingston. Interment will follow at the National Heroes Park.
Source: JIS News