Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has declared a National State of Mourning in Dominica following the death of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.
Chavez dies on Tuesday afternoon after a two-year battle with cancer.
The prime minister said he has asked the ‘relevant’ authorities to convene a special memorial Mass for Chavez at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on Thursday, March 7.
In a statement to the nation on Tuesday evening, Skerrit described Chavez as a true friend of Dominica and “Dominican in many respects.”
“I wish from the outset to declare a National State of Mourning in the Commonwealth of Dominica,” he said. “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.”
The memorial Mass will be held at 5:00 pm.
He said the family of Chavez and the people of Venezuela are in the prayers of Dominicans. “We share the pain and the great loss,” he remarked.
The prime minister said Chavez’s love for Dominica transcended the monetary, material and physical. “It was a love that manifested itself in every encounter, whether in Caracas, Roseau or another regional capital,” he noted.
Sometimes, overcome by emotions, Skerrit said he has lost a great ‘colleague, father, brother and a friend.’ “Hugo Chavez held my hands in the brightest and darkest hours of my tenure to date as your prime minister,” he said. “Dominica and I could have looked to him for guidance and we received such in the spirit of mutual friendship and respect.”
He also assured the government of Venezuela of Dominica’s continued support and said the government will indicate further initiatives “to appropriately record its sadness on the passing of president Chavez and its commitment to the commemoration of his work.”
Chavez’s body will lie in state for three days from Wednesday until a memorial service and a public funeral on Friday, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has said.