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Karl Hudson-Phillips was around 11 when his father Henry Hudson-Phillips, a Grenadian, served as mayor of Port-of-Spain in the mid-1940s. Henry was an eminent young Queen’s Counsel at a time of colonial rule. Lisa Taylor, an attorney in the Grenada chambers of Henry Hudson-Phillips & Co, told the T&T Guardian pieces of the story of Karl Hudson-Phillips’s life that was passed on to her. She said Hudson-Phillips opened the Grenada chamber in 1995 and named it after his father, Henry.
She said Henry, born in Grenada, migrated to T&T where he quickly made a name for himself while the British still ruled the country. “Henry made his career primarily in Trinidad but made appearances in courts in Grenada as a young lawyer.” She said Henry became well known in Grenada around those times for his command of the English language and for his fastidiousness, talents and traits also attributed to his son.
Tracing the Hudson-Phillips’s Grenada roots, she said Henry was born in St Georges, the capital of Grenada, and was known to live in the Gore Street area. She said remaining relatives in Grenada did not maintain strong connections. Hudson-Phillips was born in Trinidad and his first notable connection with his ancestral land was in 1995 when he opened the Grenada law chambers and named it after his father. His popularity on the island grew after he became the lead prosecutor in the Maurice Bishop trial.
“The last time he was here was on January 3,” Taylor said. She said there has been an outpouring of sympathy from the island’s legal fraternity on his passing which was widely reported in Grenada’s media. A statement from the law firm from Grenada Broadcast said: “We shall be forever inspired by his intellectual acumen, tremendous advocacy skills, professionalism, fastidiousness and passionate love for the law.
“No doubt the Caribbean will also reflect with justifiable pride on the achievements and contributions of this brilliant Caribbean man. He has left a void which will not easily be filled.” Taylor said Hudson-Phillips’s body was still in London and the T&T High Commission there had been assisting with arrangements to have the body flown back to T&T. She said funeral arrangements were still being worked out.
Dr John Bharath, father of Trade and Industry Minister Vasant Bharath, recalled he was MP for St Augustine in 1966, when Hudson-Phillips was a PNM MP. He said Hudson-Phillips became one of his two best friends. “I was with the Democratic Labour Party and we were political allies because in those days there was no mudslinging and personality antagonism.” Bharath, 87, described Hudson-Phillips’ tenure as a PNM MP as “a love-hate scenario. “He was not always loved but they always listened to what he was saying.”
His fondest memory of Hudson-Phillips was when they had a drink together after Parliament. “We became very close. After Parliament he, George Chambers and I would always go and have a drink and a little tete-a-tete.” Bharath said he was in London the day Hudson-Phillips died and he “got a hint from a little birdie but wasn’t sure.”