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PM: We can all learn from Max’s full life

Thursday, January 18, 2018

In a celebratory send-off yesterday, citizens of T&T gave their final salute to former president George Maxwell Richards as the curtains closed on the three-day State funeral for this country’s fourth president.

While politicians, diplomats and other high officeholders gathered inside the National Academy for the Performing Arts, in Port-of-Spain, ordinary people stood on the fringes looking on at the pomp and ceremony executed with military precision.

The auditorium was not filled to capacity. Tickets for members of the public were only made available at 5.45 pm on Tuesday at Napa.

There was a poor turnout of people at Woodford Square, in Port-of-Spain and Harris Promenade, San Fernando where big screens were erected streaming the event live.

People complained about the quality of the video, which appeared dark and blurry, and that there was no seating or tents to shelter them from the sun.

In Tobago, the situation was different as scores of people turned out to witness the ceremony telecast on a big screen at James Park, in Scarborough.

For the past three days, traffic into the city was disrupted to allow the cortège to the Parliament, on Monday, and at Napa on Tuesday, where Richards’ body lay in State.

Parking was prohibited and several streets blocked off to allow the procession from Napa to Belgroves Funeral Home, in Tacarigua, where Richards’ body was cremated following a private funeral service attended by close relatives and friends.

Richards, 86, died last Monday from a heart attack.

Among those who attended the funeral yesterday were Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his wife Sharon, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, acting President Christine Kangaloo, Government ministers and Opposition members. Former prime minister Basdeo Panday, former government minister Jack Warner were also in attendance.

In paying tribute to Richards, the Prime Minister said Richards held out hope for T&T.

He said the former president aspired through difficult circumstances to become somebody, which impacted on the lives of many.

For those who knew Richards, Rowley said he was a man who never gave up.

“He didn’t know what was failure. Today, in paying tribute to him we must acknowledge that it was not always easy going for him. It was sometimes difficult, but being the man that he was, he made difficult situations look easy.”

Rowley said citizens must keep in mind that they can emulate Richards’ successes.

“Today, we should take from experiences of his own successes and moments and model it. President Max Richards was a leader with tremendous confidence…all attributes we can follow in a generation.”

The PM said Richards enjoyed himself annually playing in a Carnival band.

Rowley said while our country’s challenges might appear to be great, the challenges faced by Richards would have been far greater than ours.

He was a “giant of a man” in our small nation, Rowley said.


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