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Senate pays tribute to Theodore—the hero

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A hero, leader and great soldier who served his country well, especially in handling the failed 1990 coup attempt. Those were among tributes paid to former national security minister Brig Joseph Theodore. He died last week of a heart attack. The Senate, of which he was a member while serving as national security minister between 1995 and 2000, observed a minute’s silence on his passing. National Security Minister Gary Griffith said a few weeks ago he had been about to approach Theodore to become his special adviser. Griffith said Theodore, who was trained at Sandhurst, was a great soldier, leader, role model and father-figure as well as national security minister. He said murders were down to 100 in his tenure. He added: “If I can accomplish half of what he did I would be successful. T&T was very confident when he was security minister. ”


Griffith said when he was in the Defence Force in 1990 Theodore had commanded him to quell enemy fire emanating from the back of Camp Ogden. Independent Senator Elton Prescott said Theodore belonged to the category of T&T’s heroes, had featured in a book about T&T’s cadet corps and had also been among pioneers who rose to the top of the T&T Regiment. Prescott said Theodore was successful as national security minister even merely based on the fact that he served his full term as much as containing the murder rate. Prescott noted some ministers in that portfolio have not served an entire term. He said although leadership in the 1960s and 1970s emanated mainly from QRC, he said Theodore was different, having come from St Mary’s College.  
Because of Theodore’s experience, maturity and knowledge of his forces, he said, a lot of bloodshed was probably averted during the 1990 coup attempt.


PNM Senator Terrence Deyalsingh said Theodore was among T&T’s many heroes, particularly for his role in quelling the coup attempt. He said he planned to ensure Theodore was inducted into the St Mary’s Hall of Fame. Deyalsingh said it had been planned for him to be inducted there before he had died. “A gentleman, hero, patriot, husband and father,” Deyalsingh added.
Senate president Timothy Hamel-Smith also said he endorsed the view of Theodore as a hero. ”He stood out in his wisdom and compassion, not only in times of crisis but it was part of the fibre of him as a person. He was a committed soldier who loved his country,” he added.


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