GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday July 5, 2016 – Officials attending the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Guyana yesterday eulogised the late former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning, hailing him as a true champion of CARICOM.
In his remarks at the National Cultural Centre, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who led the speeches, said that as a member of the Conference of Heads of Government for 13 years, the former Trinidadian Prime Minister was “unwavering” in his commitment to CARICOM.
“The initiatives he promoted to advance integration ensure that his legacy as a regionalist is secure. His calm and deliberate manner was a distinctive feature during the Meetings of Conference,” the Secretary-General said.
Manning, passed away at the age of 69 last Saturday, a day after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare blood and bone marrow cancer.
“I extend to the Manning family and to the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago our sincere condolences on the death of this outstanding CARICOM Leader,” Secretary-General LaRocque added.
Prime Minister of Dominica and CARICOM Chairman, Roosevelt Skerrit, also spoke highly of the late Manning.
“He was no doubt a very committed Caribbean leader,” he said, and added that in recognition of his contributions to regional life, Dominica will observe two days of mourning on Friday and Saturday.
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Keith Rowley thanked the Community for its outpouring of support to his country on the passing of its former Prime Minister. His death, he said, represented a tremendous loss for Trinidad and Tobago and the entire Caribbean.
“Mr. Manning was a visionary, patriot, and a true Caribbean man, who was committed to the regional integration movement, Mr Rowley said, lauding his contribution to the establishment of initiatives including the Petroleum Fund which allowed Member States to benefit from Trinidad and Tobago’s oil revenue,” Rowley said.
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who had visited Manning when he was hospitalized last week, described the late leader as a “titan of the integration movement”.
He eulogised the fallen leader with the paraphrased words of Thucydides (c. 460 B.C. – c. 395 B.C.):
“For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war.” [Funeral Oration of Pericles]
A book of condolence was opened at the CARICOM Secretariat today.