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Heavy rains hamper public viewing of body
After maintaining her composure for the last week, Maxine Richards, the daughter of former president George Maxwell Richards broke down in tears yesterday, as the hearse carrying her father’s body drove into the compound of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.
Maxine’s mother, Dr Jean-Ramjohn-Richards, however, managed to put on a brave face and smiles, as she greeted members of the public who came to say their final farewells to the former president at Napa’s auditorium.
On Monday, Ramjohn-Richards was unable to contain her emotions after viewing her husband’s body in the lobby of Parliament.
Richards, 86, the country’s fourth president died of a heart attack last Monday.
His funeral service will take place today at Napa, following which he would be cremated in a private ceremony.
As the hearse inched its way into Napa’s compound around 9.10 am, following a military procession, Maxine who was standing at the academy’s main entrance, in the full glare of the public, began to weep and had to be comforted by her first cousin, Karen Richards, who was standing next to her.
At 10.15 am Maxine and her mom walked across to the casket to view Richards’ body.
Containing their emotions, both mother and daughter chatted briefly over the opened casket and then took their seats.
Under a tent pitched in Napa’s compound less than two dozen citizens waited to see Richards’ body.
However, viewing was delayed for a few minutes because of a heavy and constant downpour.
As the rains showed no signs of easing up some citizens walked through the heavy downpour to get to the auditorium while others took shelter under umbrellas.
A small group of recruits from the Civilian Conservation Corps were first in line to sign the condolences book and view the former president’s body.
The public viewing which was scheduled to begin at 10 am did not get underway until 10.45.
They were followed by a few students from the Bourg Mulatresse RC School.
Up until 12.30 pm, the rains did not stop as the public’s line got shorter and shorter.
Earlier yesterday, the hearse carrying Richards’ body was taken through the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, an institution where the former president once held the post as campus principal.
Staff and students gathered to view the procession as it travelled to the Max Richards Building —the Faculty of Engineering, the JFK Undercroft, the Office of Campus Principal and the main Administration Building. —See Page A11
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