Max says farewell to troops
GEORGE Maxwell Richards completed his decade-long tour of duty as the country's Commander-in-Chief with a final walk in front of his troops in a public ceremony held around the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain yesterday.
Richards, 81, a former principal of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, became the country's fourth president on March 17, 2001.
He held the post for two five-year terms and will today be replaced by former High Court judge Anthony Carmona.
A ceremony was yesterday held in front of the Knowsley building located along the Queen's Park West in Port of Spain for Richards's last day.
Around 3.50 p.m. yesterday Richards and his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards departed President's House and proceeded by mounted escort around the Queen's Park Savannah to a saluting dais at the top of Dundonald Street in Port of Spain.
He arrived at the dais around 3.55 p.m. yesterday.
Chief of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj arrived seven minutes earlier.
Richards performed an inspection of the Defence Force parade which consisted of members from the Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard and Reserves.
A prayer was said for Richards.
Following the prayer Richards was treated to a musical presentation by saxophonist Staff Sgt Bishop.
Bishop played Kenneth Bruce Gorelick better known by his stage name Kenny G's hit "Going Home" for Richards.
Ramjohn-Richards was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Major Josette McClean.
Maharaj presented Richards with a parting gift of crystal horses and a framed collage of photographs.
The Defence Force then held its sunset ceremony.
Richards then made his last walk in front of his troops alongside Ramjohn-Richards and Maharaj to an instrumental version of "Auld Lang Syne".
Richards's walk ended at his official vehicle.
Maharaj saluted and shook Richards's hand.
When Richards entered the vehicle, an Air Guard plane followed by two Air Guard helicopters flew past.
The parade marched off to an instrumental version of Ian "Bunji Garlin" Alvarez's 2013 soca hit "Differentology".
The streets surrounding the Queen's Park Savannah were blocked off yesterday for the 30-minute-long ceremony.
About two dozen members of the public looked on at the ceremony.
Latoya Achong and Joanna John from Arima were among those who witnessed Richards's final good-bye.
Achong said the ceremony was "simple, short and to the point".
John said it was a "fitting tribute" to a great president.
Richards was scheduled to attend the 1st Annual President's Command Performance hosted by the Artists' Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Central Bank auditorium, in Port of Spain last night.
The inauguration ceremony for Carmona, 60, will be held today at the Hasely Crawford Stadium starting at 5 p.m. and thousands are expected to witness the event.