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News Briefs

Published:Wednesday | June 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Official mourning for Seaga begins

The four day period of mourning for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga begins today.

No public social functions or official events should be held during the four-day period and flags on public buildings are to be flown at half-mast.

Seaga’s body will lie in state today and tomorrow at the National Arena between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Both Houses of Parliament are to offer tributes in a special sitting today and a wake will be held at Tivoli Gardens Square on June 22.

The state funeral for the 89-year-old Seaga, the nation’s fifth prime minister, will be held on Sunday, June 23, at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.

Interment will follow at the National Heroes Park.



US launches hospital ship to countries absorbing Venezuelans


US Vice President Mike Pence declared yesterday that Venezuela’s authoritarian leader “must go” as the US Navy launched a hospital ship on a five-month mission to help Latin American countries struggling to absorb migrants from the crisis-wracked country.

Pence briefly toured the ship at Miami’s cruise liner terminal ahead of its Wednesday departure to help Venezuelan migrants in countries including Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. It will also make stops in Haiti, Jamaica and several other Caribbean nations.

After the tour, the vice-president spoke before Venezuelan exiles, who have become an increasing presence in the swing state of Florida, where President Donald Trump chose to announce his re-election campaign later Tuesday in Orlando. Florida is home to an estimated 190,000 Venezuelans, many of whom have found common cause with exiles of other socialist governments such as Cuba and Nicaragua.



Beckles to appear before US Congress on reparations

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles has been invited by the Texas Democrat representative Sheila Jackson Lee to appear before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties today.

Sir Hilary, a historian, has been a long-standing ally of former Congressman John Conyers, who, for more than 40 years, struggled to get a reparations bill through the Congress.

A UWI statement said that “on several occasions, Sir Hilary and Rep Conyers addressed the Congressional Black Caucus in an effort to build support in the Congress. Their long history of lobbying has now matured with this hearing.”

Sir Hilary noted that it is a special tribute to the leadership of Representative Conyers, as well as CARICOM, and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves in particular, who five years ago established the path-breaking Regional Commission on Reparations that has inspired the political movement in the United states.

Sir Hilary’s participation in the Congress follows his contribution at the British House of Commons in 2014, and his delivery of the keynote address at the sitting of the United Nations General Assembly to launch the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2025).



Johnson builds lead in UK PM race


Boris Johnson increased his lead yesterday in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister as one of his rivals was eliminated in a party vote, while upstart candidate Rory Stewart defied expectations to stay in the contest.

Johnson, a flamboyant former foreign secretary, won 126 of the 313 votes cast Tuesday in a second-round ballot of Conservative Party lawmakers that left five contenders standing. The total all but guarantees that Johnson will be one of the candidates in a run-off that will be decided by party members.

Dominic Raab, who tried to vie with Johnson for the votes of committed Brexit supporters, got only 30 votes Tuesday, three short of the threshold needed to go through to the next round.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Stewart all remain contenders in what is now effectively a race for second place and a run-off spot.

Tory lawmakers will vote again today and tomorrow, eliminating at least one candidate each time. The final two contenders will go to a postal ballot of all 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

The winner, due to be announced in late July, will replace Theresa May as both party leader and British prime minister. May stepped down as party leader earlier this month after failing to secure Parliament’s approval for her Brexit deal.