A number of prominent nationals joined the long list of people who died last year. Today, the T&T Guardian pays tribute to 12 individuals who left their mark on society through their tireless efforts to educate and help others in their own way.
January 16—Fr Henry Charles
The well-known Roman Catholic priest died at 69 after a massive heart attack at St Mary’s Church in St James. Described by his peers as one of the brightest minds, he was also qualified in law. Charles, however, was heavily criticised during his very brief stint as head of the Integrity Commission in 2009.
His appointment came under threat after newspaper columnist Kevin Baldeosingh accused the priest of plagiarism, claiming there was a marked resemblance between two newspaper columns written by Charles and two articles published in the New York Times and National Catholic Weekly in the US. Days after the accusation, Charles admitted to the mistake and resigned his position with the Integrity Commission, stating that there was an oversight on his part.
March 14—Tajmool Hosein
Queen’s Counsel Tajmool Hosein passed on in March. He was 92. Hosein was a member of the delegation that attended the Marlborough House conference in England in 1962 to formulate the Constitution in preparation for T&T’s Independence in 1962. Born in Williamsville, Hosein became a lawyer in 1946 and was known for his expertise in constitutional law.
He was also a politician: he joined the Democratic Labour Party in 1961 and was a candidate for Chaguanas in the general election that year. He won the seat and served as MP for Chaguanas between 1961 and 1966. He was one of the proponents of the Principles of Fairness draft Constitution in 2006. Hosein was awarded silk in 1964 and the Trinity Cross in 1982, but declined offers to become chief justice and president of the Caribbean Court of Justice, those close to him said.
March 19—John Donaldson
The former People’s National Movement (PNM) government minister and executive member died at the St Clair Medical Centre in Port-of-Spain after a long battle with cancer. He was 76. Donaldson served as minister of national security from 1976 to 1985 and minister of foreign affairs and ambassador plenipotentiary under former PNM administrations. He also held the post of chairman of the party.
April 19—Luise Kimme
Born in Germany in 1939, Kimme became a resident of Tobago in 1979. She died peacefully at her Tobago home at the age of 74. She was a renowned artist, known for her wooden sculptures reflecting African Orisha art and established a sculpture museum, known in Tobago as the Castle. Before arriving in Tobago, she spent years studying, teaching, creating and winning acclaim in Berlin, London, Rhode Island, New York and California.
July 19—Wendell Kangaloo
Appeal Court judge Kangaloo, 57, succumbed to severe head injuries he sustained in an early morning car crash on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in May 2012. Four people were killed in the crash. His death was described as “tragic and senseless” and sent shockwaves throughout the legal fraternity. Kangaloo, brother of former PNM minister Christine Kangaloo, spent several months in the US undergoing rehabilitation.
His funeral was attended by a number of prominent people, including former prime minister Basdeo Panday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and former national security minister Jack Warner.
August 3—Jeffrey Chock
Chock, a leading photographer, died at 70 at his Belmont home. He was best known for his documentation of Carnival and dance. His pictures were described as narratives which told a story. In 2006, Chock published Trinidad Carnival: Photographs by Jeffrey Chock.
August 28—Edward Hernandez
Hernandez, known for his work in the field of heritage preservation, died two days after journalist and historian Louis B Homer. Hernandez curated the Tobago Museum at Fort King George and was involved in the cultural life of Tobago for many years, co-ordinating activities for the Tobago Heritage Festival, Carifesta, and archaeological field workshops for visiting university students. He also represented Tobago at several seminars sponsored by Unesco, regional bodies and the International Council of Museums.
October 4—Ulric Cross
World acclaimed World War II hero Philip Louis Ulric Cross passed away peacefully at 96 at his home in Port-of-Spain, on October 4. Born in 1917, he served as a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force at a time when this country was still a colony of Britain.
His heroic exploits in attacking Adolf Hitler’s German army earned him the soubriquet “Black Hornet.” He became the most highly decorated aviator in the Caribbean and inspired author Ken Follett to make him the model for the character Charles Ford in his novel Hornet Flight. Cross was also an international jurist.
December 5—Michael Als
The trade union pioneer died after a prolonged illness. He was the founder of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union when it was known as the Bank Workers Trade Union. Als led the Young Power Movement in the 1960s which influenced the 1970 Black Power Revolution, and played an important role in the development of the trade union movement after Independence. He was a political detainee during the state of emergency in 1970 and 1971.
He was also a teacher, poet, writer, cultural and political activist. His book Is Slavery Again traced the history of the working class. In his later years Als was involved in working with young people in Toco.
December 6—Emmanuel McDonald Bailey
The former top sprinter died peacefully at 93 with his family at his side. Bailey was born on December 8, 1920, and won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s 100 metres event at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. In 1946, he created history when he won both the 100 and 220 yards at the British Open Amateur Athletics Association Championships, amassing 15 AAA national titles.
December 26—Issac McLeod
Businessman and philanthropist Issac McLeod died on Boxing Day at the age of 74. He was known to his friends as “IT” and was a well-known quantity surveyor and prominent businessman. McLeod had provided scholarships for many people to study abroad, as well as resources for researchers interested in his home island of Tobago. He was also an avid art collector, a cricket enthusiast and a wine lover.
December 30—Akeem Adams
The former T&T Youth World Cup defender died at hospital in Hungary after suffering a massive stroke. Adams had been previously hospitalised there after suffering a heart attack in September hours after training with his clubmates at professional club Ferencvaros, and never fully recovered.