|05KINGSTON129||2005-01-13 19:21:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kingston|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS KINGSTON 000129
1. (U) This is an action request. See Paragraph 5.
2. (U) On January 13, Embassy received by messenger a letter
addressed to the Secretary from Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)
Senator Bruce Golding (full text at Para. 4). In it, Golding
informs the Secretary that JLP parliamentarians are planning
to hold a banquet in honor of former Prime Minister and
Opposition Leader Edward Seaga's retirement from active
political life. Seaga served 43 years in Parliament
representing the same West Kingston constituency, including
nine years as Prime Minister of Jamaica. Noting the
Secretary's "close connections with Jamaica and the high
esteem in which you are held by the Jamaican people," the
letter invites the Secretary to be the keynote speaker at the
banquet, which would be held in late February or early March,
subject to the Secretary's availability. Prime Minister P.J.
Patterson and Governor General Sir Howard Cooke will also be
invited to pay tributes at the banquet.
3. (U) The letter originated with Golding's approach to the
Ambassador at a dinner on January 5, when he first raised the
idea and requested that she convey an invitation to the
Secretary. Pol/Econ Chief subsequently contacted Golding to
ask that the invitation be put into writing. Golding again
emphasized the bipartisan nature of the planned banquet,
which he said would be funded by corporate sponsors to ensure
that it would be as apolitical as possible.
4. (U) Begin text:
The Honourable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
US Department of State
2201 C. St. NW
Washington DC 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary,
The Leader of the Opposition, the Most Honourable Edward
Seaga, will retire form Parliament and active politics on
January 19th. He will have completed 43 years of unbroken
service to Parliament - the longest in our history -
including his tenure as Prime Minister between 1980 and 1989.
The Opposition parliamentarians propose to hold a banquet to
honour him for his long and distinguished service to the
people of Jamaica. This will be a non-partisan event at
which the Governor General and the Prime Minister will be
invited to pay tributes.
Having regard to your close connections with Jamaica and the
high esteem in which you are held by the Jamaican people, we
and Mr. Seaga, himself, would be delighted if you would
consent to be the keynote speaker at this gala event. We
contemplate staging this banquet toward the end of February
or in early March and would determine the date based on your
availability. We would make all appropriate arrangements for
your visit in consultation with the United States Embassy
once we are advised of your availability.
We sincerely hope that you will find it possible to accept
our invitation and we look forward to your early response.
Yours very sincerely,
5. (SBU) Comment and Action Request: The 74-year-old Seaga,
who will soon take up a professorship at the University of
the West Indies, is a much-respected (and at times
controversial) Jamaican institution who has been a major
force since the country gained its independence in 1962. For
that reason, his departure from active political life is a
momentous occasion. Golding is aware that the Secretary will
have returned to private life by the time the banquet takes
place, and emphasized the organizers' willingness to
accommodate his schedule should he agree to accept the
invitation. Request Department guidance on how to respond to