Former Trinidad & Tobago diplomat and cultural advocate Selwyn Joseph is dead. The 76-year old succumbed to cancer last Friday at his Scarborough home.
Employed with the Ministry of External Affairs in the twin-island republic, Joseph was posted to the T & T High Commission in Ottawa in 1968 where he spent three years. He also worked with the T & T Tourist Board in Toronto and New York before taking up a teaching assignment at Ryerson University where he graduated after receiving a T & T government scholarship.
Joseph was an avid supporter and promoter of T & T culture.
“Most of his life revolved around trying to promote the best aspects of Trinidad & Tobago carnival culture,” retired Toronto District School Board (TDSB) administrator Lloyd McKell said.
Former Caribbean Cultural Committee chair Ken Jeffers said Joseph was a lover of everything about carnival while retired TDSB principal and calypsonian Henry “King Cosmos” Gomez shared his fondest memory of the deceased.
“I will always remember him in costume with his make-up, psychedelic umbrella and his red cup filled with some liquid playing mas’ on Lakeshore Blvd,” Gomez said. “That is the image of him that will remain with me.”
Dr. Lennox Borel, a retired TDSB principal, taught Joseph at St. Mary’s College in Trinidad.
“Selwyn was hard working, extremely respectful and an excellent student,” said Borel. “I am not surprised by how he turned out. He was just a super guy who measured up to his classmates’ competence.”
Borel and Joseph worked on several Caribana projects over the years.
“The guy always had a smile on his face,” he added. “Whenever you looked at him, you saw pure joy.”
Joseph is survived by his wife of 50 years, Suzanne, and their children Sean, Stacey, Stefan and Spencer.
“He was a wonderful husband and father who loved life,” said his widow.
The viewing takes place on Friday, February 12 from 4-9 p.m. at Ogden Funeral Home, 4164 Sheppard Ave. E. The funeral is on Saturday, February 13 at 11 a.m. at St. Bartholomew Church, 59 Heather Rd. in Scarborough.
By RON FANFAIR