Hall of Fame 1997

 
Mr. Ellis ‘Edgar’ Achong
Sir Henry Alcazar, Kt., K.C.
Mr. Felix Amoroso-Centeno
Hon. Vincent Brown, K.C.
Captain Arthur A. Cipriani
Sir Ellis Clarke, T.C., G.C.B., G.C.M.G.
Monsignor C.B. de Martini
Sir Louis de Verteuil M.D., K.C.M.G.
Sir Errol Dos Santos C.B.E.
Fr. Leonard Graf, C.S.Sp., C.M.
Sir Solomon Hochoy, T.C., G.C.M.G., O.B.E.
Sir Gaston Johnston, Kt., K.C.
Dr. Joseph Lennox Pawan, M.B.E.
Mr. Raymond Quevedo (Atilla the Hun), H.B.M.
Mr. Clifford Roach, H.B.M.

Mr. Ellis ‘Edgar’ Achong

Ellis Edgar Achong was a prominent sportsman of the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was a former W.I. orthodox slow left-arm spinner and Maple left-wing. He was a member of the famous Maple forward line in the 1920’s along with his contemporary Clifford Roach. He was born on February 16, 1904 and died August 29, 1986 at 82 years. At the time of his death, he was the oldest-surviving Trinidad Test cricketer.

Achong appeared in six Test matches for the West Indies making his debut at the Queen’s Park Oval y England in the home series of 1929-30, where his duel with Patsy Hendren was one of the highlights of that match. He was picked for the 1933 team for England. He bagged 71 wickets on that tour and played in all three Tests.

His career ended in 1935 but he settled in the Manchester area and played League cricket, for Rochdale and Heywood until 1951, capturing some 1200 wickets. He was the first and only player of Chinese extraction to represent the West Indies, but contrary to popular belief, he did not invent the ‘chinaman’ which is the left-hander’s back of the hand ball made famous by Fleetwood-Smith and Gary Sobers. He returned home in 1952 and two years later served as Test Umpire in the Port of Spain match y England.

Ellis was appointed a government coach in the 1950’s and made a valuable contribution to schools’ coaching programme and also assisted in the laying of turf pitches. In addition to his cricket skill, he was also a fine footballer, representing Trinidad from 1919 asa teenager, to 1932.

Sir Henry Alcazar, Kt., K.C.

In his time he was one of the most brilliant students at CIC, being first on the list of Island Scholars in 1877 and winning the Jemingham Gold Medal. He was admitted to Gray’s Inn in England following which he was called to the Bar in Trinidad. He went on to become a prominent lawyer, having been engaged in most of the important legal disputes in the colony. He performed with distinction among a galaxy of eminent legal luminaries and in 1897 he was honoured as a King’s Counsel.

Apart from his talent in the legal field, he was an eloquent and polished speaker who used these skills to advocate the rights of the people. He acted as a Puisne Judge of the colony and also as Chief Justice. He also served as President of the Trinidad Bar Council.

For many years, he was a member of the Port of Spain City Council, during which time he was elected Mayor for four years.

As an unofficial member of the Legislative Council of the Colony, he took an active part in the reform movement for representation in the legislature, being one of the prime movers seeking to have members elected to the Council rather than being nominated.

In 1915, he was appointed to the Executive Council of the Legislature and was the first unofficial member to serve on that body. He is numbered among those who fought for an end to indentureship among East Indians.

Sir Henry was known for his extreme loyalty to the Catholic Church and St. Mary’s College, representing their causes in the Legislative Council on many occasions. He was knighted in 1918.

Mr. Felix Amoroso-Centeno

He is one of those individuals who is regarded as an institution at St. Mary’s where he served as a lay master for five decades under five Principals.

He has helped to guide many students of CIC who went on to become outstanding citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, among them doctors, lawyers, priests, scientists, politicians and the ordinary men without whom no country could survive. In 1948 when he celebrated his silver jubilee as a teacher at CIC the then Principal, Dr. J. Meenan remarked: “Mr. Centeno has given 25 years of his life to the boys of St. Mary’s College. There are other ways of passing one’s life,far more lucrative,far more profitable from the material point of view, but Mr. Centeno has never looked on his teaching here as a trade, or even as a profession but looked at it as a vocation. He taught the boys here to be true Christians by his life and sterling character.”

He had a great interest in Spanish culture and was honoured by the Spanish Government in 1948. The Venezuelan Government honoured him in 1963.

His role as a teacher is well known and highly respected but equally so is the great part he played in the establishment of the co-operative movement in Trinidad. The thousands today who participate in and benefit from Credit Union membership recognize the debt owed to him. For years he traveled all over Trinidad and Tobago with officers of the League lecturing on the subject taking as his theme: “Never build co-operatives faster than you can build co-operators.” He worked ceaselessly with Fr. Long and Mr. Milne, seeking to establish the credit union movement on a solid foundation.

Mr. Centeno was indeed a gentleman, a guide, a friend, who spiced every lesson with the greatest lesson of all, true Christian principles.

Hon. Vincent Brown, K.C.

The Honourable Vincent Browne was born in St. Vincent but came to Trinidad at an early age. At CIC he was one of the most brilliant scholars and after leaving there he went to England and enrolled at Gray’s Inn - the first person from Trinidad to do so. He was called to the Bar in record time and on his return to Trinidad he was involved as a junior in most of the important cases, impressing all, including the then Chief Justice who was known to be particularly harsh on young practitioners.

He was appointed as a magistrate and later became Solicitor-General prior to his appointment as Attorney General. When he took up the latter post he had already become a King’s Counsel.

Justice Vincent Browne was known as a man who promoted the social advancement of youth in the colony and one who helped struggling but worthy individuals to achieve their goals. He came to be regarded as a leader of the people and took a foremost part in any movement which tended towards their political upliftment, making many masterly speeches on politics throughout the years.

One of his sons, Kenneth Vincent Browne continued in his brilliant footsteps and was the first colored man to be appointed as a Senior Puisne Judge. Another of his off-spring, Sonny Vincent Browne was a legendary and highly successful football coach at CIC for many years.

Captain Arthur A. Cipriani

He was born in 1875 to a French Creole land-owning and business family. He rose to the rank of Captain in the British West Indies Regiment after enlisting at the beginning of the First World War. Defending West indian servicemen against discrimination in the military, he became very popular, and on his return was elected President of the Soldiers and Sailors Union. He joined the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association and became its President, championing the causes of the working-class people in Trinidad. He worked towards bridging the gulf between working people of East Indian and African descent. He became a member of the Legislative Council in the island’s first national elections in 1925 by winning the Port of Spain seat by an overwhelming majority, and was a member of the Port of Spain City Council continuously from 1926 - 1941. He served as Mayor of Port of Spain for a record eight (8) times. Between 1925 and 1938, he used his voice in the Council in defence of working class interests such as workman’s compensation, old age pension and minimum wage. He defended legislation to protect trade unions, and in 1932 was successful in getting a Trade Union ordinance enacted by the British Government. He also served as President of the CIC Past Students Union.

Sir Ellis Emmanuel Innocent Clarke, T.C., G.C.B., G.C.M.G.

Sir Ellis was a brilliant student at St. Mary’s where he won an Island Scholarship and the Jemingham Gold Medal in 1936. From CIC he went to London University and was subsequently called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn. Back home in Trinidad, he engaged in private practice for just over 13 years during which time he built up a sterling reputation as a criminal and civil lawyer and a leading Junior counsel. Later, he assumed a number of prominent positions in the country. From Solicitor General in 1956, he became Deputy Colonial Secretary in 1957 and Attorney General in 1958. His meteoric rise continued with him being appointed Chief Justice designate in 1961 but he never took up this post.

In the year before Trinidad attained Independence he was the Constitutional Adviser to the Cabinet and in 1962 he was appointed as this country’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative at the United Nations. He served as Ambassador until January 1973 when he relinquished that post to become Governor General. Sir Ellis served as Governor General until 1976 when Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic and he was made this country’s first President.

Sir Ellis has the unique honour of having been knighted on three separate occasions by the Queen of England. He received this country’s highest honour, the Trinity Cross, in 1969. He has played a prominent role in shaping the legal framework of Trinidad and Tobago and is regarded as an expert on this country’s Constitution. He demitted office as President in 1987 and has since become a Consultant. He was selected by the Past Students Union for induction into the St. Mary’s College Hall of Fame. He remains a loyal supporter to his alma mater.

Monsignor C.B. de Martini

He was reputedly the first student to seek admission and to be enrolled to the Halls of St. Mary’s on arrival of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Trinidad in July 1863. He was noted for his zeal for the spiritual enrichment of his flock, and was most keenly identified with education, and agricultural development. He was instrumental in establishing a branch of the Agricultural Society in Arima, and was responsible for establishing a large number of schools in Trinidad and Grenada.

In spite of much opposition from various directions, he established a flourishing school in every parish in which he worked. He served six (6) years as Vicar General in Grenada and was there extolled as the champion of Catholic education.

Sir Louis de Verteuil M.D., K.C.M.G.

The Hon. Sir Louis A.A. de Verteuil, M.D., K.C.M.G., was born in 1807 and died at the age of 93. At an early age, he was sent to France to complete his education. He adopted the medical profession and returned to Trinidad in 1837. He became actively engaged in politics and was anxious for reform, being well known as a passionate anti-colonialist. He was also noted for his zeal and devotion to the Catholic church, and was a member of the delegation of Catholics from Trinidad to the Holy See in 1862 for a group of priests to establish St. Mary’s College. He was one of the greatest champions of the College until his death.

His devotion to the church procured for him, first, the Order of St. Gregory the Great and secondly, the distinction of being named Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Dr. de Verteuil was for three years consecutively, Mayor of Port of Spain. He was also for many years, a member of the Legislative Council of the country and on his retirement received a well-merited tribute of praise from the Governor, fully endorsed by his colleagues at the Medical Board of which he was President. He always took a lively interest in educational matters as well as in all matters connected to his profession and to the Island.

He was decorated by the King with a knighthood, KCMG.

Sir Errol Dos Santos C.B.E.

Sir Errol had a long career in Government service and worked his way through the ranks to become Financial Secretary, Colonial Secretary and also Acting Governor of Trinidad and Tobago. He was knighted in 1946.

After his career in the public service, he become involved in the private sector where he was recognized as one of the leading businessmen in the country. He headed Carib Brewery and Carib Glassworks in their fledgling days and went on to become Chairman of Alstons Limited, which was later merged into the McA1 Group.

He was also well known for his role in the development of West Indies cricket, mainly through his work at Queen’s Park Cricket Club. He was elected Vice-President of Queen’s Park in 1943 when, according to the then rules, the Governor of the colony was the President. When this rule was changed in 1962 he became President, an office which he held until he migrated in 1982. To a large extent, he was personally responsible for the development and improvement of the Queen’s Park Oval which is today one of the leading cricket centres in the world. He also served as President of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control for eight years.

Fr. Leonard Graf, C.S.Sp., C.M.

Leonard Joseph Graf came to Trinidad from Germany as a student for the priesthood in the congregation of the Holy Ghost Missionaries. He returned to CIC as a priest and was appointed Dean of Studies and professor of Greek, Latin and French as well as of Botany and Zoology at the then Higher Certificate level.

During Fr. Graf’s time at the College, this country witnessed what may be called ‘the golden years of St. Mary’s’. Under his expert and devoted tutelage, CIC for about 20 years secured almost a stranglehold on the then annual Island Science Scholarship (he was himself a self-taught scientist). He combined scholarly erudition with the ability to impart knowledge and tempered discipline with dry but no less gentle humour.

He was a man of boundless energy, being in charge of the Debating Club, Choir, Library and Drama Club and editor of the College Annual. He produced the Golden Jubilee Annual and 50 years later, the Centenary Annual in 1963.

At CIC, he was Dean of Studies for almost 40 years and Senior Greek Master for 60 years before retirement from active teaching service in 1966.

He joined the Trinidad Field Naturalists Club in 1924. He was a frequent lecturer there and in 1931 presented a series of lectures in botany and zoology for the Club’s younger members and became its VP and finally President in 1940; a post he continued to hold until 1945. He served on the Management Committee from 1930-70.

He was truly a devoted teacher and reports are that in his 61 years at CIC, he was absent from school only two (2) days. He received the Chaconia Medal for long and meritorious service to education in 1969.

Sir Solomon Hochoy, T.C., G.C.M.G., O.B.E.

He was born in Jamaica in 1905, migrating to Trinidad at the age of 2. He grew up in the village of Blanchisseuse and attended CIC from 1917 to 1922.

In 1927, he embarked on a long and distinguished career in the Civil Service. He rose through the ranks, from humble beginnings as a junior tally clerk in the Harbour Master’s Office, to become Labour Commissioner in 1949, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1952. In 1954, he became Deputy Colonial Secretary and after acting in the position of Colonial Secretary the following year, was confirmed in that position in 1956.

In 1959, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George and was appointed to the office of Governor of Trinidad and Tobago, the country’s last.

With the country’s emergence as an independent state in 1962, Sir Solomon Hochoy became its’ first Governor-General. He was awarded the Trinity Cross in 1969 for his outstanding service to the nation. He died in 1983.

Sir Gaston Johnston, Kt., K.C.

Sir Gaston has gone down in history as one of the outstanding criminal defence lawyers in Trinidad and Tobago and indeed the Caribbean Region. In fact, he was knighted for his prominence in law. Born in 1876, he was called to the Bar in 1898 and was later made a King’s Counsel. He served as President of the Bar Council in Trinidad and Tobago for some twenty years and the West Indies Bar Association for one year, testimony to the high regard in which he was held by his legal colleagues. He was fondly known as the Grand Old Man of the Bar.

In 1916 he was elected as a member of the Port of Spain City Council which he served for 25 years, five of them as Mayor. While serving as Mayor, he was responsible for initiating several improvements in the City. He became a Nominated Member of the Legislative Council of Trinidad and Tobago for a three year term beginning 1928.

Clearly one of the greatest lawyers who practised in Trinidad and Tobago, he was a brilliant advocate and jurist with great forensic skill in the criminal branch of the law. His success at the bar has been phenomenal and at one stage, he had achieved the distinction of never having failed to obtain an acquittal for any of his clients in 40 years. Apart from his contributions at the municipal and Central Government levels, Sir Gaston served on several Boards and Committees, among them the Port of Spain Rent Assessment Board, the Boxing Board of Control and the Arima Race Club as President.

Sir Gaston is recognized as a distinguished son of the soil who made his mark in the spheres of law and politics.

Dr. Joseph Lennox Pawan, M.B.E.

Dr. Pawan attended St. Mary’s until 1907 when he won an Island Scholarship. After attaining degrees in Medicine and Surgery, he served in the First World War as Assistant Surgeon at the Colonial Hospital, Fort of Spain, and later as the District Medical Officer in Tobago and Cedros. In 1923, he was appointed bacteriologist to the Government. In the early 1930s, he achieved international acclaim for his discovery of the rabies virus transmitted by vampire bats and this spearheaded medical research in that area.

His breakthrough was the most significant achievement worldwide in that field, and he was awarded a MBE (Member of the British Empire) for this discovery, which was hailed a hallmark in tropical medicine. In addition to his work in bacteriology, he was also a pathologist who worked on several tuberculosis, malaria and tropical disease projects in the 1940s. He retired in 1953 and was appointed Honorary Consultant Bacteriologist to the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission Medical Centre. He was the author of a number of important papers and articles especially in the field of rabies.

Mr. Raymond Quevedo (Atilla the Hun), H.B.M.

Raymond Quevedo had excellent literary skills and was well known as a writer, orator and calypsonian. He was born in 1892 and later won a scholarship to attend St. Mary’s. He made his first public appearance as a calypsonian in 191 1, using the sobriquet ‘Atilla the Hun’. His career as a calypsonian ran for almost fifty years during which he was acknowledged as the calypso king of Trinidad on seven occasions. His familiarity with literary classics, his wide vocabulary and his ability to compose extemporaneously, resulted in him being regarded as a calypsonian par excellence, with one writer describing him as the Shakespeare of Calypso.

Quevedo was a fierce defender of the calypso art form and the traditional rights of the calypsonian to comment fearlessly on local and world affairs. UWI’s Dr. Gordon Rohlehr lists over 66 calypsoes composed and sung by Atilla, covering a wide range of topics including social justice and humour. Among his unforgettable compositions are Graf Zeppelin, Emancipation Centenary and Man Santapee.

He entered politics in 1946 winning a seat in the Port of Spain City Council, later serving as Deputy Mayor. In 1950 he was elected to the Legislative Council, winning a seat in the national elections. He was President General of the Trinidad Labour Party served on the Carnival Improvement Committee, the Railway Board and other civic organizations. He continued his profession as a calypsonian while carrying out his official duties and developed a reputation as a champion of the poor and a fighter for social reform.

Errol Hill wrote the foreword to one of Atilla’s books ‘A short history of Trinidad Calypso’ and the following extract from that foreword reproduced below, tells a great deal about Atilla.

“I feel that Atilla would like to be remembered most for his unshakeable faith in the destiny of the calypso. He believed passionately that it would outlive its detractors and be hailed as a significant expression of a people’s culture, and he enshrined these sentiments in a verse which he improvised in the calypso tent one night as the ever-watchful policeman was sedulously monitoring his song:

There are police spies sitting around
Taking shorthand notes of my song
But I can tell them independently
That they can tell their masters for me
Never mind whatever measures are employed
Kalso is art and cannot be destroyed
And centuries to come I’d have them know
People will be still singing kaiso.

The high regard in which Atilla was held is reflected in this obituary in the Nation news paper when he died in 1962. “he concerned himself with commentaries on our social and political life, on contemporary developments at home or abroad. His language was grandiloquent, his wit unrivalled, his courage boundless, his perception acute.” (Credits to Errol Hill from whose foreword to Atillas book we quoted extensively.)

Mr. Clifford Roach, H.B.M.

Clifford Archibald Roach was one of the pioneers of West Indies cricket. He was born on March 13, 1904 and died April 1988 at 84 years.

His death marked the last remaining member of the historic 1928 cricket team which toured England. He has been referred to as ‘a swashbuckling opener’. He gained cricket immortality when he became the first West Indian to score a century and double century in West Indies Test cricket. His 112 was scored at Kensington, Barbados, while his 209 was amassed in a day at Bourda, Guyana (in the first and third Tests of that series). In the second Test, Roach bagged a pair, another regional first, at his home ground, the Queen’s Park Oval. Those were his only hundreds in 16 Tests during which he scored 952 runs at an average of 30.70. Roach appeared in 16 Tests for the West Indies between 1925 and 1935.

He was also excelled in football, representing Maple, and Trinidad and Tobago in many inter colonial matches. He later studied law in England and became a Solicitor. Previously, he served as a City Councillor in the city of Port of Spain.

In 1972, he received the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) at the national honours ceremony for his great achievements in the field of cricket and was inducted in WITCO Hall of Fame in 1986.

Sesquicentennial Memorabilia

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