A tearful St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, was one of the first Caricom leaders to pay his respects to former T&T prime minister Patrick Manning, as his body lay in State at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) yesterday.
From 10 am yesterday, citizens, led by President Anthony Carmona, said final their farewells to Manning, who died last Saturday at the San Fernando General Hospital after being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
Gonsalves arrived around 2 pm but no Government Minister was on hand to meet and greet him. Hazel Manning was also not there at the time. He was then escorted to the body, where he remained for more than two minutes paying his respects. The tears emerged within moments of viewing Manning’s body.
Gonsalves was the last regional prime minister to visit and speak with Manning before he died at hospital. He visited Manning days before he passed away. During that visit, Gonsalves and Manning were heard laughing loudly as they shared a few moments together.
But yesterday he could not hold back the grief as the tears flowed. He had openly described Manning as a friend. After viewing the body, Gonsalves proceeded to sign the condolence book. Gonsalves is expected to speak during Manning’s State funeral at the Holy Trinity Cathedral this morning.