In the blazing sun, dozens of people packed into Memorial Park, Port-of-Spain, yesterday as Queen Elizabeth II took part in a wreath-laying ceremony. Some onlookers waved flags while others sang God Save The Queen, the British National Anthem. With 105 members of the T&T Defence Force standing guard, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at 4 pm, just an hour after she landed at Piarco International Airport. The Queen arrived in a 14-car procession and was met at the park's entrance by president of the T&T Legion of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, Michael Arneaud, and president of the Royal Air Forces Association, Justice Ulric Cross.
Wearing a green dress and hat, the Queen was accompanied by President George Maxwell Richard to lay the wreath, in remembrance of soldiers who fought during both World Wars, while the armed forces stood at attention. After the Queen took her place at the foot of the memorial the first gun was fired, startling the crowd. A second gun was fired after two minutes of silence was observed. The Queen kept a somber face during the ceremony. She honoured the past soldiers by commissioning the laying of a red and black wreath at the foot of the memorial statue, while members of Defence Force played the reveille. Also present and standing at attention were sea scouts, cadets and girls guides.
Paying their respects to both the Queen and those who fought in both World Wars were local veterans, Mayor of Port-of-Spain Murchison Brown and Chief Justice Ivor Archie. When asked about the Queen visiting the city, Brown said it was an honour and a proud moment for citizens to have her visit during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. A member of the Girls Guides Association of T&T presented the Queen with a bouquet of flowers, bringing a smile to her face. Chantel Daniel, a girls guide, said it was an honour to be in the presence of the Queen. She said it was the first time she saw her in person. The Queen and Prince Philip left the park while being serenaded by the Defence Force Steel Orchestra.