Dominica joins Cuba and several other Latin American countries in declaring a national state of mourning following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit designated Wednesday march 6th 2013, as Dominica’s official day of mourning. This will be followed by a special memorial service on Thursday to be held at the St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in Goodwill at 5:00pm in honour of the fallen leader.
“It is without reservation therefore that I request that all flags in the Commonwealth of Dominica be flown at half staff effective tomorrow March 6 and continuing to the morning following the internment of our fallen friend, brother and comrade” an emotional Skerrit said late Tuesday evening.
Chavez died on Tuesday afternoon after an almost two-year battle with cancer. The country has declared seven days of mourning. His body will lie in state for three days from Wednesday in the Military Academy of Caracas until a memorial service and state funeral on Friday.
Revered as “a true friend of Dominica”, PM Skerrit mourned Chavez’s passing as a great personal and national loss.
“I have lost a colleague, father, brother, and a friend. [Chavez] held my hands in the brightest and darkest hours of my tenure to date of my tenure to date as your Prime Minister…and Dominica and I have looked to him for guidance and we received such in the spirit of mutual friendship and respect” he said.
Skerrit urged Dominicans to keep Chavez’s family and the government and peoples of Venezuela in their prayers.
The Prime Minister also expressed his solidarity and extended condolences to the Venezuelan Ambassador to Dominica Hayden Owanda Pirela Sanchez.
Dominica has enjoyed strong diplomatic relations with Venezuela since 1978 but has, during the last ten years, reaped significant economic benefits from that relationship. As a result of the endearing friendship between Chavez and Skerrit, both the ALBA and Petro Caribe agreements were signed during that period.