Sunday, December 17, 2017

Our nation's leaders

SINCE becoming a Republic in 1976, Trinidad and Tobago has had four Presidents.

The first statesman to serve in a position that parallels the post of President was Sir Solomon Hochoy as Governor-General between 1962 and 1972. As Governor-General, Hochoy represented the British Monarchy as well as served as head of state.

Sir Ellis Clarke, now deceased, succeeded Hochoy as Governor-General in 1972, the second and last such post for Trinidad and Tobago. He went on to become the first President of this country.

He was unanimously elected to the highest office of the land when T&T became a Republic. Clarke's end of term saw T&T's first Muslim head of state—and also the first for the Americas—moving into President's House in St. Ann's.

Noor Hassanali, also now deceased, served two terms, between 1987 and 1997.

He was a retired High Court judge and the first Indo-Trinidadian to hold the office of President.

Arthur NR Robinson, the first President from Tobago, succeeded Hassanali and served in office from 1997-2003.

He was previously Prime Minister from 1986-1991, during which time he was a political leader of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR).

Robinson was the first active politician to be elected to the presidency.

Outgoing head of state, His Excellency George Maxwell Richards, took office in 2003.

Born December 1, 1931, Richards is a chemical engineer by training and sat as principal of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in 1996.

He also worked for Shell Trinidad Ltd before joining the University of the West Indies in 1965.

Richards is the first head of state in the Anglophone Caribbean of Amerindian ancestry.

*Data taken from the Parliament and Nalis websites