KINGSTON, Jamaica - Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller expressed “deep and profound sadness” at the passing this afternoon (Wednesday, March 5) of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, describing him as “a faithful and avowed friend of Jamaica”.
“Although it was well known that President Chavez was battling very serious health issues, I was always of the view that the brave and courageous fighter that he was, would have led him to overcome the challenge with which he was afflicted. This was not to be and we will have to live with the reality of him not being with us anymore,” Simpson Miller said.
The Prime Minister said that in the last few years, she came to know Chavez personally and found him to be “a sincere, jovial, and a very vociferous and committed leader in the defence of the rights and welfare of the most marginalised and vulnerable in the society and a fighter to correct inequalities in his country, the Americas, and the Caribbean region”.
“His ‘call for conscience’ and persistent efforts to introduce and maintain the operation of the Petro Caribe agreement is a living testimony of the high esteem in which President Chavez held the people of Jamaica and the region.
“I will miss him dearly. Long live my friend. Long live Mr President. Gone but not forgotten. On behalf of the government and people of Jamaica I express sincere condolences to his family and the government and people of Venezuela during this period of grief,” the Prime Minister concluded.
Opposition leader, Andrew Holness, also reacted with sadness at the news of Chavez’ passing.
Holness in remembering the Venezuelan leader said, “Mr Chavez, who passed away at the age of 58, was a friend and champion of the developing nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. He was passionate in his beliefs and conviction and his death will certainly leave a void not easily filled”.
“Today we salute Mr Chavez for the passion with which he advanced the agenda of Less Developed Countries, encouraging us to deepen ties amongst ourselves and cooperate for our development,” he added.
The Opposition Leader said the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party “sends its heartfelt condolences to the Chavez family and the people of the Republic of Venezuela as they mourn the loss of their father and leader”.