Government will endow the Sir Ellis Clarke chair in Commonwealth Parliamentary and Constitutional Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in honour of the nation's first president, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
"This chair will be a major centre of learning available to serve not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but the region and entire Commonwealth, as well as students of constitutional studies all over the world," Persad-Bissessar said at the State funeral of the former president at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar said this honour will be of immense value as governments worldwide seek to reform and adapt their constitutions to meet national needs.
"The pioneering work of our own Sir Ellis will be brought to bear on future generations. This endowment will honour not only his work in the major field of government endeavour, but his legacy will continue to benefit students, researchers and scholars from Trinidad and Tobago, the region and all over the world in a field of study that was literally his passion," Persad-Bissessar said.
Hailing Sir Ellis as the "grandfather" of this nation, Persad-Bissessar noted his achievements for this country and his will to ensure rights and freedom for the people as he framed the country's first Constitution.
"He was a man of courage, a man of vision and he was endowed with one of the greatest virtues that any person can have, humility. He epitomised the truism that he walked with kings and queens but he never lost the common touch," she said.
Persad-Bissessar said she met Sir Ellis in the 1980s and to her he was twice the exemplar, as a statesman who served the people and as an accomplished attorney in the field of her interest—constitutional and civil law. She said history books will record Sir Ellis as a man whose ultimate vision was achieving justice, independence and equality for this country.
Persad-Bissessar said Sir Ellis was a true patriot and pointed out that he chose country before personal gain, as he returned home after studying in England at a time when there were social unrest and political changes. She said with his knowledge and competence "he brought dignity and respect to every public office he held and heralded the dawn of a new era with the enactment of our Constitution". See Pages 7 and 13