Hall of Fame 2003

 
Professor Emmanuel Amoroso, T.C.,C.B.E.
Professor Courtenay Bartholomew, C.M.
Mr. William (Willie) V. Clerk
Mr. Charles (Charlie) Davis, H.B.M.
Justice Michael de la Bastide, T.C., Q.C.
Mr. J. Hamilton Holder, C.M.
Dr. Alistair Karmody
Fr. Gerard Pantin, T.C., C.S.Sp.
Mr. Andre Tanker, C.M.

Professor Emmanuel Amoroso, T.C.,C.B.E.

Professor Emmanuel Amoroso is regarded by many as the most distinguished professor of Trinidad birth in the field of medical science and research. After graduating from St. Mary’s College, he entered University College, Dublin to study medicine. His career was one of great distinction, not only in his contribution to scientific knowledge, but in the number and variety of honours that were bestowed upon him. He had a record of academic success as a medical student at University College, Dublin and after periods of study in Berlin and at University College, London, joined the Royal Veterinary College in 1934 as Senior Assistant in charge of histology and embryology. In 1947 he was appointed to the chair of Veterinary Physiology at the College.His outstanding contribution lay in the field of reproductive biology although his interests and research covered an enormously diverse number of topics. He published many papers and stimulating reviews, but much of his thought and original work was summarized in his classic chapter in Marshall’s Physiology of Reproduction. One of his many achievements lay in his support of the learned societies with which he concerned himself and several of these benefi ted directly from his financial acumen. As a chairman of scientific meetings, he had the ability to distil complex argument for evidence and to present a summary that was both lucid and elegant. He was fluent in several languages. On his retirement, he was given an Emeritus Professorship and the college made him a Fellow. However, retirement merely marked a stage in his active career and was followed by a series of visiting Professorships and other posts (in Santiago, Sydney, Nairobi, Guelph) and by a long period as Special Professor in the University of Nottingham. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Fellow of the Royal Society of Pathologists, Honorary Associate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the holder of many honorary degrees from universities the world over.He received the Mary Marshall Medal from the Society for the Study of Fertility and the Carl Hartman Medal from the Society for the Study of Reproduction. The presentation of the Dale Medal by the Society for Endocrinology, at the symposium held to honour his 80th birthday, gave him particular pleasure. He ensured that he gave back to the land of his birth in various ways, among them by serving as an advisor in the inner councils of the University of the West Indies. He was also an indefatigable worker as a member of the Task Force for the Mount Hope Medical Complex, and through his many international contacts in the field of medicine, many notable experts came to advise the Task Force.In his youth, he was an avid sportsman, representing both St. Mary’s and the illustrious Maple Club in the Port of Spain Football League. At university he was a competent boxer. In 1969 he was awarded the C.B.E. by the Queen and in 1977 the Trinity Cross.

Professor Courtenay Bartholomew, C.M.

After winning a House Scholarship from St. Mary’s, Professor Courtenay Bartholomew chose to study medicine in Dublin and graduated from University College, Dublin (UCD) in 1960.Professor Bartholomew has been involved in academic medicine ever since graduation and is the only medical academician in the Caribbean to be awarded Honorary Fellowships by the three Royal Colleges – the Royal Colleges of Physicians of Ireland, Edinburgh and London. In 2002, he was awarded University College of Dublin’s highest recognition, Fellow of University College, Dublin. In 1967 he was recruited from the Royal Victoria Hospital of Mc Gill University to inaugurate the first medical school of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, and in 1977 he became UWI’s first Professor of Medicine of Trinidadian birth. He is the Emeritus Professor of Medicine of the University of the West Indies and Director or the Medical Research Centre and Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago. He has made an outstanding contribution to the School of Medicine through the quality of his leadership, as was stated in the citation delivered when he was admitted to membership of the Royal College of Physicians in London. He has been recognized internationally in the fi eld of science and more recently for his research on retroviruses. He reported the fi rst cases of AIDS in the Commonwealth Caribbean in 1983 and since then he has been collaborating with the US research team of Dr. Robert Gallo, who co-discovered the AIDS virus in 1984. His research centre in Trinidad was also recently selected to be one of the first 11 international sites to conduct HIV vaccine trials. He has over 70 publications in scientific journals and is the author of chapters in eight textbooks of medicine. His latest book, Life, AIDS and Terrorism – The Link, will be soon AIDS and Terrorism – The Link, will be soon AIDS and Terrorism – The Link published in the United States. He has also written four religious books on Mariology, has spearheaded the restoration of four churches in Trinidad and Tobago and has designed all the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Francis Church in Belmont.In 1975, he was awarded the Independence Day Chaconia Medal (Gold) for long and meritorious service in the fi eld of medicine. In 1984, the Trinidad Guardian newspapers voted him “Achiever of the Year” and he was the Trinidad Express “Individual of the Year” in 1985. In 2001, he was the recipient of the Republic Day Award from Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago “for his outstanding contribution to national development in medicine and for social and religious work”. His most recent recognition, in 2003 was the New York Independence Day award bestowed upon him in Brooklyn “for his positive contribution to this country’s cultural heritage”.

Mr. William (Willie) V. Clerk

William (Willie) Clerk can truly be said to have been a great champion of the poor. This tribute was earned out of the many dedicated years of service that he gave to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which he joined in 1943. He was later elected as President of the Society and is regarded as the person largely responsible for the growth it enjoyed. In keeping with the spirit of the founder of the Society, Frederick Ozanam, it was his fervent wish that young men would be recruited into the conferences. He shared with the late Count Finbar Ryan, Archbishop of Port of Spain, a vision that a conference be established in every parish of the archdiocese. Both of these goals were accomplished during his presidency of the Society – a testimony to the inspiration and example of one who, though successful in business, was never too busy to serve his fellowman. His disciplined leadership, both in business and in the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, characterized the spirit with which he was imbued as a student at St. Mary’s College, where he taught for a short time upon graduation. In 1926, he joined the firm then known as Massy Limited as a cashier/customs clerk. From that time onward, he played a vital role in laying the foundation of what was to become Neal and Massy Holdings Limited, one of the largest conglomerates in the Caribbean and which he headed as chairman until 1976. Throughout his business career, he was respected by everyone who had contact with him, for his disciplined leadership, integrity and ability. His influence on the lives of many is written indelibly in the records of Neal and Massy’s growth and development over half a century.In his own silent way, he devoted much of his spare time to the poor and the lonely who relied on him for relief in their distress. He recognized the need for warm humanity and to give material assistance with some sense of dignity. Indeed, he was generous with his time, his possessions and himself. In 1975, he received a Papal award, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Paul VI, in recognition of his outstanding and dedicated work in the Church and the St. Vincent de Paul Society for over 30 years. He also served as President of the St. Mary’s College Past Students’ Union from 1953 to 1956.

Mr. Charles (Charlie) Davis, H.B.M.

Charles ‘Charlie’ Davis grew up in the days when many sportsmen in Trinidad and Tobago successfully participated in two or three sporting disciplines during the year. Besides being a table tennis doubles champion of Trinidad and Tobago, he played fi rst eleven cricket and football for St. Mary’s in the days when college students competed against older players in the various national leagues. He was a determined footballer who played Intercol football for two years, with the last occasion being remembered for the fact that during the North semi-final, he had to substitute for the goal keeper who suffered a broken finger. He had a fierce loyalty for St. Mary’s, a loyalty which often inspired CIC teams to victory over stronger opponents. Representing St. Mary’s at cricket, together with another outstanding allround sportsman, Andy Aleong, he formed what was fondly referred to as “the cricketing twins of CIC”. For three years, they were the scourge of experienced bowlers in the Senior Grade of the Trinidad Cricket Council, scoring numerous centuries against teams such as Maple, Malvern, Sporting Club and Invincible. Needless to say, he often reserved his best for QRC, our arch-rivals of over a century, laying the foundation for St. Mary’s emerging victorious in the Cadbury Cup Intercol cricket tournament for the first ten consecutive years. In his final year at CIC, he scored over 1000 runs in the season. While still at St. Mary’s, he represented North Trinidad in the annual North-South Beaumont Cup classic and also gained selection on the Trinidad team to play in the regional tournament, with his best performance that year (age 17) being 127 and 97 against a Guyana team that included the great Lance Gibbs. But it was as a member of the West Indies team that he showed his determination and discipline which resulted in him being one of the most reliable West Indian batsmen of all times. This accolade was earned although he played for the West Indies at a time when the team was graced with players of the calibre of Sobers, Kanhai, Rowe and Lloyd, as he often had to rescue the team from near disaster. In two consecutive series, against India (1970-71) and New Zealand (1971-72) he finished ahead of his more illustrious colleagues in the batting averages. He was very much a player who put team before self as was evidenced by his declaration when he captained St. Mary’s in an Intercol final with his personal score at 196 not out, to ensure that his bowlers had enough time to bowl out the opposing team twice. His century at Lord’s in 1969 no doubt stands out as one of his most noteworthy achievements but it was against the formidable Indian spin trio in 1970-71 that he made his mark in West Indies cricket. That trio of Bedi, Venkat and Prasanna, continually exposed and destroyed the West Indies batsmen...all except him and his captain Sobers. His magnificent technique against top class spin bowling resulted in an average of 135 in that series. In the tour by New Zealand he played what is arguably one of the most valuable Test innings by a West Indian batsman, scoring 183 and in the process, transforming a losing situation into an honourable draw. He averaged 58.25 in that series.He was renowned for his courage, good judgement and reliability, all compensating for any shortage of natural sporting ability. In these times when sportsmen have many more opportunities than were available in earlier days, he stands out as a role model who can be held up as an example of one who by dint of determination and hard work, was able to achieve much on the world’s sporting stage. He was awarded the Humming Bird (Silver) in 1992.

Justice Michael de la Bastide, T.C., Q.C.

Justice Michael de la Bastide has a distinguished and impressive record of sporting, academic and professional excellence. He won the Island Scholarship in Languages in 1954, following which he secured the B.A. in Jurisprudence with First Class Honours from Oxford University in 1959. One year later, he attained his Bachelor of Civil Law, with First Class Honours, also at Oxford University. On the basis of his Bar final exam, he was awarded by his Inn, Gray’s Inn, the Cunningham Macaskie Scholarship and the James Mould Scholarship, having placed first among the candidates at that Inn. He was called to the English Bar in 1961 and was admitted to the local Bar that same year, having been appointed Crown Counsel. He resigned as Acting Senior Crown Counsel in 1963 to take up a place in the chambers of Mr. Malcolm Butt, Q.C. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1975. Justice de la Bastide served as Treasurer of the Bar Association and was the first President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He also served as an Independent Senator from 1976 to 1981 and was a member of the Constitution Commission appointed in 1987. He was senior partner of the firm of de la Bastide and Jacelon from 1992 to 1995, when he was appointed Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, a position he occupied until his retirement at age 65 in 2002. He was made an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1996 and an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies in 2000. During his 30 years at the Bar, he established himself as a most competent and formidable advocate, regarded by his colleagues as one of the best in the British Commonwealth. Justice Michael de la Bastide, T.C., Q.C. He also performed well in the field of sprt, representing St. Mary’s at tennis, hockey, football and cricket. He represented Trinidad and Tobago at hockey in 1971 and also at Bridge for several years. He held directorships in a number of the leading firms in this country and was a member of the Board of Management of St. Dominic’s Home for several years.As Chief Justice, his focus was the reduction of the backlog of cases and delays in the determination of matters, being fully aware of the adverse effects such a situation had on the administration of justice in the country. His initiatives resulted in a significant improvement in the administration of justice in this country. It must be noted that Chief Justice de la Bastide personally contributed to the improvements that were achieved, having written several judgments in the Court of Appeal himself. He was strong in defence of the independence of the judiciary and he used the combative skills for which he was known as an advocate to show that he was prepared to defend that independence at all costs. Without a doubt, Chief Justice de la Bastide left an indelible and positive mark on the administration of justice in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1979, he was nominated “Man of the Year” by the Express newspaper for what was described as “his dedication and fearless commitment to public service, particularly in respect of his outstanding contribution in the Senate”. He was awarded the Trinity Cross in 1996.

Mr. J. Hamilton Holder, C.M.

Mr. J. Hamilton Holder was a noted educationist, who after graduating from St. Mary’s College, entered the teaching profession in 1931. After formal training at the Catholic Training College, he taught at his alma mater for two years. He then pioneered correspondence or distance education, by establishing the Progressive Correspondence College for Teachers in 1936, before founding Progressive Educational Institute in 1946. Progressive Educational Institute and other private secondary schools at that time filled a critical void caused by the fact that the few established colleges and girls’ secondary schools did not provide enough secondary school places for students coming out of the primary schools. At that time, the several Government Secondary schools which now exist had not yet been established, so that prior to them coming on stream in the late 1960s, Progressive and other private secondary schools were the source of a high standard of secondary education for thousands. Thus it is that secondary schools such as Progressive, enabled hundreds of students to acquire secondary level education that would not have been possible otherwise. It is to the credit of a pioneer and risk-taker such as J. Hamilton Holder, that many of the graduates of his private secondary school went on to successful careers where they made tangible contributions to this country and other countries. Among the noted graduates are former Chief Justice Clinton Bernard, as well as High Court Judges, doctors, lawyers, national sportsmen and public servants. In addition, a number of students completed their education at the more established schools after starting at Progressive. Evidence of the high standard of education provided at Progressive was the fact that one of his students, Clifford Payne, won the Jerningham Silver medal, placing fi rst among all secondary school students in the Senior Cambridge examinations and five other students won House scholarships on various occasions.Mr. Holder was a strict disciplinarian but he was also a gentle individual who sought the interest of his students at all times. He strove always for excellence and inspired his students to do likewise. At the same time that he was making his contribution to education, he served as an Alderman in the Port of Spain City Council between 1957 and 1971, being Mayor for the last three years. As Mayor, he initiated the twinning of Port of Spain with the city of St. Catherine’s in Canada. He served as Vice-President of the Senate from 1976 to 1981. He also shared his wide experience with his colleagues by serving as President of the Private Secondary Schools Association. He was the recipient of numerous awards, with the most prestigious being the Chaconia Medal (Gold) for his services to education. He died in December 2001.

Dr. Alistair Karmody

Dr. Alistair Karmody died at the relatively early age of 49 but by that time he was known internationally for his accomplishments in vascular surgery. At St. Mary’s College he won the Island Scholarship in Science in 1955 as well as the Jerningham Gold Medal for placing fi rst among all Higher Certificate students. Upon graduating from St. Mary’s he pursued studies in medicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, as well as at Oxford University. He later became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England and in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1970 he was invited to join the Albany Veterans Administration Hospital and soon after, became a full-time member of the faculty of the medical school. At the medical school, his vitality, wide interests and publications, made him nationally known. There, he led a team of physicians in pioneering limb reattachment surgery, performing the fi rst such successful operation at that hospital when they reattached the foot of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy. He was also known internationally for his accomplishments in vascular surgery, co-pioneering with another doctor the in-situ vein by-pass graft. They established the procedure to relieve circulation problems in the leg by re-routing the blood supply past clogged arteries. That procedure is now standard technique throughout the world. At Albany, he also contributed significantly to the initiation of their kidney transplant programme. He wrote more than 150 scientific publications including numerous book chapters and articles published around the world. His lectures and dissertations were heard in countries around the world as well. Beside his intellectual qualities, he was an exceptionally talented technical surgeon and a most effective teacher, as evidenced by the achievements of many of his protégés. He was affiliated to a number of professional organizations, among them the American Surgical Association, the Society of Vascular Surgery, the International Cardiovascular Society and the New York Academy of Science. He died on June 19, 1986.

Fr. Gerard Pantin, T.C., C.S.Sp.


Fr. Gerard Pantin won a Government exhibition at Belmont Boys’ Intermediate school to enter St. Mary’s College. At CIC, he excelled in academics, winning the Island Scholarship for Science and the Jerningham Gold Medal in 1948 to cap a very consistent performance throughout his stay at the College. While doing extremely well academically, he participated fully in extra-curricular activities, performing with distinction in cricket, football and scouting. Upon graduating from St. Mary’s, he taught at his alma mater for one year before leaving to study for the priesthood. Entering the priesthood represented a career change, as his original goal was to pursue studies in medicine. Having made the switch, he applied himself conscientiously, as was his wont in all his endeavours. As he put it, “being a doctor, I could heal only the body; as a priest, I could heal the inner selves of my people”. He also achieved the B.Sc. (Honours) in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Botany, a Diploma in Education, a Diploma in Philosophy and a License in Theology. After his ordination, he was reassigned to St. Mary’s where he taught science subjects, served as Dean of Forms Five and Six, and competently carried out the role of Games Master for a number of years in the 1960s. During his stint as Games Master, St. Mary’s teams enjoyed a very high rate of success, particularly in Intercol football and cricket. They also performed well in the First Division of the North leagues for these two sports, when the College teams competed with and held their own against the senior teams of the day. He was the Founder and Co-ordinator of St. Anthony’s College (in 1968), the first comprehensive school in Trinidad, catering for special technological and science training for slow developers. In 1970 came perhaps the most defining period in his life, the aftermath of the 1970 uprising in Trinidad. At that time, thousands of underprivileged and unemployed marched through the streets, demanding justice and equality. As a priest, the events of that time made him determined to fi nd a way to assist the poor and he decided that one way to do that was to interact with the youth of Laventille. The organization that grew out of those early initiatives became what is today known as Servol. That organization is now one of the best organized NGOs in the country with some 50 Life Centres and 150 Early Childhood Centres. It provides employment for over 600 persons and educates over 7,000 adolescents and young children. In 1973 he founded the Trinidad and Tobago Development Foundation which guarantees loans for community projects. The work of Servol has been recognized internationally and, in fact, a number of other countries has sought advice from Fr. Pantin towards establishing similar programmes in their homelands. In 1994, UNESCO honoured Servol for its work in the area of early childhood and adolescent development programmes, listing it as one of the top 20 of their kind in the world. In 1994 he was awarded the alternative Nobel Prize, an award that carried with it a grant of approximately TT $480,000, all of which was used to further the work of the group. The citation for the award read in part “for showing the crucial importance of spiritual values, co-operation and family responsibility in addition to practical skills and achievements in building a civilized society”. He was awarded an Honorary degree by Duquesne University in 1987 and by the University of the West Indies in 1990. He was the winner of the Express Individual of the Year award in 1980. In 1995 he was awarded this country’s highest award, the Trinity Cross.

Mr. Andre Tanker, C.M.

On the surface, Mr. Andre Tanker was merely a musician, but it was a career that made him quite famous. However, the depth of his music was such that many regarded him as a modern day griot who reminded the people of Trinidad and Tobago of the struggle that made his nation great. It is accepted that music can have a tremendous influence on youth, either positive or negative, and he will always be remembered as one who used his gift of music to produce sobering, intelligent messages, to inspire youth and others. As Express journalist Debbie Jacob wrote in a ribute to him soon after his death, “Two themes oomed large in his music: our sense of spirituality as a people, and the need to provide a peaceful, meaningful life for our children. He believed hat children should get their dignity through heir history. He believed in a sense of humanity hat transcended race and religion. Out of that spirituality, came poignant messages of peace and freedom. His music had a sense of presence because it connected the past to the present. We were richer, wiser and lovelier because of him”. While still a teenager attending St. Mary’s College, Andre arranged a Pat Castagne composition for Invaders Steel Orchestra, and at age 17, he formed the Coronets combo, becoming one of the pioneers of combo music in Trinidad and Tobago. A few years later he formed the extremely popular Flamingoes combo, in which he successfully integrated conventional musical instruments with the steelband. Thereafter, he progressed into other aspects of the performing arts, when in 1970 he wrote the musical score for he widely acclaimed Ti Jean and His Brothers, a play written by Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott. Andre also scored music for the USA production of Mustapha Matura’s Playboy of he West Indies and wrote the soundtrack for Earl Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance, which toured the Caribbean, England and Canada. Prior to that, he scored the music for the local movie Bim. In 1993, he added to his long list of accomplishments when he wrote the score for an adapted version of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, performed in Central Park, New York Measure, performed in Central Park, New York Measure City. Lyrics and music were equally important to him as evidenced in his classic composition, Ben Lion, which was a serious contender for the 2002 Carnival Road March, while delivering a satirical commentary on the tragedy of September 11, 2001. As columnist Debbie Jacobs went on to say, “He used vivid imagery, clever metaphors and puns to create allegory”. Indeed, his works qualify among those that can be used to teach the intricacies of Literature in a local setting. Although Andre Tanker was a very humble man, he had a tremendous influence on a number of local musicians, the younger ones as well as his contemporaries. He was influential because his music was eclectic, embracing every genre of Trinidadian rhythms, as well as those foreign. In spite of his many talents, he remained unpretentious and not entrapped by things materialistic, hence his willingness to give of himself at all times. He did receive a number of awards in recent years, including two Caciques, for best composer (1990), and best musical director (1995); and a Sunshine Award in 1992 for outstanding contribution to Caribbean music. Perhaps we can get a very good understanding of the man by quoting from tributes paid to him by Raffi que Shah: “In his passing, this country has lost a genius, a trailblazer supreme, one who was daring and talented enough to experiment with our various forms of music. His music contained healing properties, lyrics and soulful music that demanded from the society an end to schisms and racism”. And according Debbie Jacob: “He was the essence of what is good and pure and simple in all of us”. He was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 2000. He died on February 28, 2003.

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