President George Maxwell Richards says the contribution of Sir Ellis Clarke to the birth and development of T&T cannot be erased. Richards said so during his tribute to the first president of the country, during a state funeral at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Sir Ellis died on December 30, two days after celebrating his 93rd birthday. He suffered a massive stroke on November 24 and never recovered.
He was buried yesterday at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery in Port-of-Spain. Richards said the most appropriate tribute to Sir Ellis would be "for citizens to emulate his high standards and humility. "He had to get it right and he did," he stressed. Chief Justice Ivor Archie, in his tribute, recalled the final meeting he had with Sir Ellis at his Maraval home two days before he suffered the stroke.
Archie said he went for advice from Sir Ellis on "a delicate matter." He said the scheduled 45-minute meeting lasted more than five hours. "He was the master, I was the student," Archie said, without giving details. "Conscious of the significance of what I was hearing, I said to him 'But Sir Ellis, you must write your memoirs,'" the CJ said.
"He deflected my suggestion in a manner characteristic of the man who was always the consummate diplomat. "With a little chuckle, he said, 'But Ivor, if I do that I will annoy too many people.'" Archie spoke of the need for the work of Sir Ellis to be researched and captured in the interest of all. "His true legacy lies not in his several accomplishment, but in the impact of the many lives he has touched," he added.