ROADTOWN, British Virgin Islands (AP) _ Wearing black, white and purple, the Caribbean colors of mourning, several thousand dignitaries gathered Wednesday to bid farewell to former Chief Minister H. Lavity Stoutt.

Stoutt died of a heart attack at his home May 14 at the age of 66.

A state funeral procession started at the Legislative Council Chambers, where Stoutt had lain in state for two days. It ended at the Central Administration Building, where eight police pall bearers carried his flag-draped casket up the steps.

Several speakers recalled how Stoutt helped transform this British territory of 16,000 from a Caribbean backwater into an international offshore banking center.

First elected to the Legislative Council in 1957, Stoutt served 17 years as the territory's chief minister.

The funeral booklet included condolences sent by Queen Elizabeth II and letters from several Caribbean heads of state.

Stoutt was buried later in the afternoon at Cappoons Bay Cemetery in the first district he represented.