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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