RIP, Sir Ellis Clarke

He was the second to last Govenor-General, and the first ever President of Trinidad and Tobago. He was a man of tremendous intelligence and class, eloquent and well mannered in his every appearance. And today, Trinidad and Tobago mourns one of our greats. Sir Ellis Emmanuel Innocent Clarke will be laid to rest in a state funeral today. Around the world, Caribbean people and government officials are remembering his life and celebrating his impact. Today, even Hillary Clinton has paid tribute to this titan of Caribbean governance.

He will be remembered for his tremendous achievements and influence on the governance of Trinidad and Tobago. But my memory of him is warmer and more personal. I had the honor of meeting Sir Ellis Clarke in 1984 when I was five years old. Here we are, at the President’s House.

Clearly we didn’t have the best camera, but my dad did the best he could!

Of course I was only five so I don’t remember much, other than the fact that I really really wanted to meet him and begged for the opportunity, and when we did meet he was regal and impressive but still warm and friendly – there was a grandfatherly vibe about him that I enjoyed very much. I wish I had video of the experience so I can even remember what we talked about!

Sir Ellis Clarke will be buried today amidst much pomp and circumstance, but his legacy and imprint on my homeland will never be forgotten. He was a man of tremendous dignity and principle, and I hope that spirit is embraced and adopted by those who follow in his footsteps. RIP, Sir Ellis Clarke.

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Comments

  1. In spite of the grainy feel of the picture I think it captured his essence of humilty,gentility and politeness.

    In his time he represented the President’s Award Scheme (in Britain it is called Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme) and I was presented with my Gold medal at President’s House by Sir Ellis.

    RIP Sir Ellis.

  2. Dad and Mom says:

    I remember quite clearly that you asked to meet Sir Ellis and I believe that we asked you to write a letter which we forwarded.We knew his Aide de Camp and so it was arranged.
    I was left outside untll towards the end, when he was informed that your Dad was outside waiting and in his usual gracious style, I was invited inside to meet him. I took the picture as you stated and as you can see he was extremely relaxed and natural.
    His contribution to Trinidad and Tobago cannot be measured. He was a giant among men, brilliant, gentle, humourous, eloquent, charming,approachable,entertaining and generous.
    He was also very religious and loved life, which he lived to the lees.Brandy Alexander and Campari were his favourite drinks. He loved the company of friends and was a true ambassador for his beloved country.
    D&M
    He

  3. Sir Ellis has served our country with honor and distinction. Thank you Afrobella for the beautiful article. Always a proud Trini.

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  1. [...] And today, Trinidad and Tobago mourns one of our greats”: On the day of his state funeral, Afrobella blogs about the first time she met Sir Ellis [...]

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