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Tony Blair on vacation in Barbados

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August 23 BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - British Prime Minister Tony Blair took a break from his vacation in Barbados to attend a memorial for veterans of World War II, an official said yesterday. Blair and his wife Cherie sat in the front row alongside Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur during Sunday's outdoor ceremony at an old military base near the capital, Bridgetown, said Alan Drury, a spokesman with the British High Commission in Barbados.

BARBADOS - British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) speaks with his Barbados counterpart Owen Arthur during a memorial ceremony for veterans of World War II at The Main Guard, The Garrison, near Bridgetown, Barbados, Sunday. Blair took a break from his vacation in the Caribbean island to attend the ceremony, prompting his office to confirm yesterday, that he was vacationing in the former British colony, lifting a news blackout on his summer break.

The couple attended the event as special guests of the former British colony's government, Drury said.

Blair, dressed in a blue suit and tie, laid a wreath in honour of fallen soldiers, but didn't address the hour-long memorial, which was attended by various diplomats and World War II veterans from Britain and Barbados.

British High Commissioner to Barbados John White called the war "the greatest conflict in the history of man".

He said the biggest threat to Allied forces in the Caribbean was from German and Italian U-boats that sank some 400 ships.
More than 2,000 men and 85 women from Barbados joined Allied forces and "fought with distinction in many theatres", White said.

Blair's office confirmed yesterday that he was vacationing on the Caribbean island, lifting a news blackout on his summer break.

Blair's office rarely comments publicly on his holiday destination for security reasons, and his director of communications David Hill wrote to British news organisations in July asking them not to report on the location.

Blair left for vacation on August 6 and his office declined to say when he will return.

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