Trinidad and Tobago’s first president dies

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago’s first president, Sir Ellis Clarke, has died.

Sir Ellis took his last breath at his home just before 8 p.m. on December 30, according to a statement from the family. His death came two days after his 93rd birthday.

Sir Ellis had suffered a massive stroke on November 24. After two and a half weeks of hospitalization, he returned home, where he received around the clock medical care.

On his 93rd birthday, relatives arranged a special lunchtime mass at his residence.

In the brief statement following his death, the family thanked all those who had offered prayers and best wishes during Sir Ellis’ ill health.

A State Funeral for Sir Ellis will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, January 4 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port-of-Spain.

Sir Ellis, a lawyer, was one of the main architects of Trinidad and Tobago’s new Constitution at independence and was also the last of the two Governors General of the country before it became a Republic in 1976. He then served as President for two terms, ending in 1987.

During his illustrious career, Sir Ellis also served as Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Sir Ellis, whose wife died in 2002, leaves two children – Peter and Margaret-Ann – and five grandchildren.

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