Samaroo: Distinguished Son Gone

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE passing of Dr Brinsley Samaroo means that Trinidad and Tobago has lost another distinguished son of the soil.

Dr Samaroo, a professor, historian and former politician passed away on Sunday but those who expressed condolences to his family, friends and associates said his knowledge, impact and legacy will continue to live on.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar calls on the government to honour him for his immense contributions and acknowledge the pivotal role he played in documenting the nation’s past.

She said, “Throughout his extensive research, Dr Samaroo delved into the rich and complex history of Trinidad and Tobago, documenting the atrocities endured by enslaved Africans and indentured East Indian migrants, and the impact this had on the development of our nation.”

He was also a tireless advocate for the preservation and recognition of historical sites, understanding their significance for future generations.

“Through decades of unwavering commitment and dedication, Dr Brinsley Samaroo has made an indelible mark on our nation’s history, deserving the highest acclaim,” Persad-Bissessar said.

To his family, she said, “May God provide you with the strength and courage to navigate through this difficult time.”

Legacy in both academia and politics

Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray also expressed sympathies.

He said, “He left an enduring legacy in both academia and politics, shaping the understanding of New World and South Asian history and leaving a lasting impact for future generations.”

Describing Dr Samaroo as a politician Paray said, “His humility and genuine concern for the well-being of his country and its people were evident in his tireless efforts as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and during his tenure as an elected member and government minister.”

 “May his legacy continue to inspire future generations to strive for excellence and make meaningful contributions to society,” he added.

Last year, Dr Samaroo who was originally from Mayaro was honoured in the first-ever Mayaro Legacy Awards hosted by Paray.

A longtime friend and academic colleague  

Former government minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh spoke of Dr Samaroo as a longtime friend and academic colleague whom he knew since he was a teenager and Dr Samaroo was a history teacher at Naparima College, San Fernando.

He was one of the most brilliant academics and intellectuals to have passed through Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region, Dr Gopeesingh said.

He said, “But many will also testify to Brinsley’s greatness as a truly decent human being, a friend, mentor and humanitarian who touched the lives of many thousands of people in his over six decades in academia and public life.”

Dr Gopeesingh said as a philosopher, Dr Brinsley held a conviction that the country’s greatest potential as a fledgling democracy and multi-ethnic society could be best achieved through a keen, honest understanding, knowledge and appreciation of both ancestral and cultural differences, as well as fundamental similarities in the common historic struggles as a people born and bred from colonial oppression.

“To this end, he was tireless and unwavering in his life’s mission to teach all and sundry our nation’s great, unique history, full of inspiring lessons of love, unity, friendships and progress in the ultimate acceptance of our common humanity.”

Dr Gopeesingh said, “In so doing, he imparted to us, as a people and a country, as a region on the whole, one of the greatest gifts that any academic or politician can give to those he chooses to serve—that of hope and faith in our common history and ultimate destiny. Indeed, this will forever be his life’s legacy, as the history he lived to tell will one day revere and honour him as one of our nation’s greatest and most beloved intellectuals and patriots.”


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