Hugo Chavez will be remembered for his vision for Venezuela and his unwavering commitment to helping the poor, says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
In a release to the press yesterday, Persad-Bissessar stated that Chavez was committed to reducing poverty and had determination to provide a dignified life to the beneficiaries of his populist programmes.
The Prime Minister extended condolences to the government and people of Venezuela, as well as Chavez's family, saying her Government's prayers accompany them in their time of grief.
Persad-Bissessar stated that in December 2011, she attended the inaugural summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which Chavez hosted. "I well recall his receptivity to Trinidad and Tobago's proposal that the CELAC troika be expanded to a quartet to include a Caribbean voice."
She noted that in 2010, Trinidad and Tobago commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between T&T and Venezuela. "Venezuela is one of our strongest allies, and our relationship remains solid."
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, also in a release to the press, noted that during CELAC, Chavez had unhesitatingly endorsed the suggestion by Persad-Bissessar that Caricom be included in the leadership of CELAC, converting it from troika to quartet and giving to its English-speaking partners a greater voice in the affairs of the hemisphere.
Trinidad and Tobago, stated Dookeran, had lost a "great friend" with the death of Chavez.
Congress of the People leader Prakash Ramadhar stated that Chavez was a "crafty, populist politician for his country and won the admiration of the poor".
Chavez, stated Ramadhar, utilised strategic social programmes, using Venezuela's vast oil wealth from the world's biggest proven oil reserves for the benefit of the masses and to his political advantage.
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said he followed Chavez's politics over the past 15 years and "whatever one may think about his positions and polices, there can be no doubt that he was respected by friend and foe".