Saturday, August 08, 2020

July 27, 2020  Barbados  -I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Owen Arthur, my friend and former colleague prime minister in the Caribbean Community. Owen first came to the office of the prime minister as Barbados’ fifth prime minister two years following my own election to the post here at home. 

I had known him previously when as the new Leader of the Opposition I observed general elections in Barbados in 1991.

Owen was intellectually inquisitive, quick-witted, and an economic powerhouse with a terrific sense of humour.  

We became fast friends while we both served in high office in our respective countries.  During those years we met frequently and regularly at Caricom and other regional and hemispheric gatherings of heads of governments.  I recall travel to some of those meetings in Barbados where my delegation was always welcomed warmly.

Owen attended my eldest daughter’s wedding in 1997 and then attended the Opening of Parliament the following week. 

In 2001 we travelled together to Quebec to attend the 3rd Summit of the Americas Conference.  Later, he joined other Caricom leaders at a Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Nassau followed by a visit to Grand Bahama and attendance by a number of them at the Government House reception marking the 28th anniversary of our independence. 

And, I remember fondly, his travel with me to my Constituency in North Abaco where we engaged in my favourite pastime – fishing Abaco’s waters and visiting several of its cays.   At different times he visited Harbour Island, Long Island and Exuma. Later still, he visited our capital to speak on and promote regional integration and on other occasions, to view hurricane damages.

The Bahamas and Barbados have a common history as former British colonies with shared democratic traditions and common economic aspirations.  Owen and I discovered that we held many views in common.  That made our collaboration and cooperation on regional matters smooth – in tourism, financial services, health, education, and regional security.  He was especially wedded to Caricom and to regional integration, a front on which we sometimes agreed to disagree.

Always a champion of Barbados he also held a special affection for the English-speaking group of countries that made up Caricom. He will long be remembered for the energy and leadership he lent to efforts to realise regional integration. 

His was an important voice and he will be sadly missed.

I and Delores and my entire family offer condolences to the Government and people of Barbados, to Julie, Owen’s wife and their daughters Sabrina and Leah and to all his extended family.

August 2, 2020   LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85. Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments, she said. The mustached Brimley was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing characters like his grizzled baseball manager in “The Natural” opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. He also worked with Redford in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.” Brimley’s best-known work was in “Cocoon,” in which he was part of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that rejuvenates them. The 1985 Ron Howard film won two Oscars, including a supporting actor honor for Don Ameche.

July 31, 2020  LONDON (AP) — Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse output includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Evita,” has died at 76, his family said. A Briton who became a Hollywood heavyweight, Parker also directed “Fame,” “The Commitments and “Mississippi Burning.” Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards. The director’s family said he died Friday in London after a long illness. Parker was born in London on Feb. 14, 1944, and, like many other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, began his career in advertising as a copywriter and director of commercials.

NEW YORK (AP) — When historians look back on the top films at the box office in the summer of 2020, they may feel like they’ve slipped into a time warp, or maybe “Back to the Future.” Over the second weekend in July, “Empire Strikes Back” — 40 years after it was first released — was again No. 1. “Ghostbusters” claimed the July 4th weekend, 36 years after opening. Over the June 19-21 weekend and 27 years after it last led the box office, “Jurassic Park” again ruled theaters. In a pandemic that has resurrected all kinds of vintage pastimes, from puzzles to drive-ins, even the blockbusters are retro. That is much out of necessity. About 1,000 theaters in the U.S. are currently open, just about a sixth of the nation’s cinemas. That includes the approximately 300 drive-ins that have, since the multiplexes shuttered in March, hosted the majority of moviegoing.

July 29, 2020  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tracy Morgan and his wife of five years are ending their marriage The actor-comedian’s representative said in an emailed statement Wednesday that Morgan and Megan Wollover have filed for divorce. “This is a challenging time for all involved, so I ask that you please respect our privacy,” Morgan said in a statement. Morgan and Wollover married after the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member recovered from a 2014 highway crash. One man was killed in the crash that left Morgan and two friends seriously injured. The crash happened when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo Morgan was riding in.