DNNGo.DNNGalleryPro


Text/HTML

BIOGRAPHIES G-I

DNNGo.DNNGalleryPro

  • Albert Maria Gomes
  • Lalonde Gordon
  • Rosa Guy (Author)
  • Noor Hassanali
  • Joanne Haynes (Author)
  • Patrick Hobson
  • Merle Hodge
  • Tajmool Hosein

ALBERT MARIA GOMES 
Emerging from a middle class background, Albert Gomes always identified himself as a member of his community, Belmont, even though the community comprised mostly poor black folks and his status group tended to avoid the lower class. Born on March 26, 1911, Albert Gomes became a City Councilor and Legislator who fought for social and political justice for the people of Trinidad.

A supporter of the literary and visual arts, in 1931 he founded a magazine “The Beacon” which provided a forum for well known figures such as C.L.R. James and which led to the recognition of excellent literary works in later years from writers such as Earl Lovelace, Merle Hodge and many others from Trinidad and Tobago. He was also a supporter of painters, steel pan and the calypso art form. In addition, he fought against the ban on the religion of the Shouters through the use of his pen and aggressive oratory.

After the labour riots of 1937 which had been organized by Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, Gomes wanted to help the people fight for equal rights against the Colonial society. In 1938 he sought and won a seat on the City Council in Port-of-Spain. This was the beginning of his political life and his popularity so increased that he was voted for three (3) consecutive terms by the people of the South-Eastern Ward.

In 1941, Gomes was appointed to a Committee to study whether the citizens of Trinidad were equipped for autonomous rule. A few persons on the committee did not believe that the people were ready with the exception of Gomes who believed otherwise. However when a vote was taken, the majority of the Committee supported the call for autonomy and this opened the way to independence for Trinidad and Tobago which began with the first ever Adult Franchise elections in 1946 for every citizen over the age of 21.

In 1944, he crossed over to the North-Eastern Ward and became known as one of the most unrestrained and dynamic members of the City Council. He was determined to work for the people and if he had to use his booming voice to get his point across and ensure democracy, he was willing to do so. His many clashes and outbursts at the City Council meetings were always related to the welfare of the workers.

By 1945 Albert Gomes won Cipriani’s seat on the Legislative Council after a by-election was held due to the death of Captain Cipriani. A great believer in the coming together of the British Caribbean islands, he supported the idea of a Federation. In August 1947, a conference was held among the West Indian leaders and it was agreed in principle to form a Federation of the West Indies, but his commitment to working on the Federation lapsed due to constitutional reform and the upcoming General Elections in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1950, under the new constitution he was re-elected to the Executive Council and was appointed the Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce.

Due to his popularity with the people, Gomes expected his party to win the General Elections in 1955 but this was postponed to 1956. This was to prove very detrimental to his party as a young Trinidadian by the name of Eric Williams leading the People’s National Movement came out victorious in this election. This defeat came near to ending his political career yet Gomes felt he needed to participate in the Federal Elections of 1958 since he was the initiator of the idea of the Federation. He joined the Democratic Labour Party of the West Indies and won the St. George East seat, which he triumphantly acknowledged to the party in power. However in 1961, the Federal Government broke up and this brought an end to his political life.

In February 1962, he left Trinidad to reside in England and passed away in that country in January 1978.


Source:

  • Collymore, George. Birth Pangs of a Nation. London: Minerva Press, 1997. 138-153.
  • Anthony, Michael. Heroes of the People of Trinidad and Tobago. St. James: Ishmael M. Khan & Sons Ltd, 2005. 93-102

LALONDE GORDON  (Athletics)
Lalonde Gordon was born in Lowlands, Tobago on 25 November 1988. At the age of seven, he moved to New York in the United States. Although active in track and field from young, he retired from running as a teenager around 2003. He returned to running in 2009, representing Mohawk Valley Community College in the 200 metres and 400 metres. Gordon told reporters, “I was running since I was small, but I didn’t run for about six years…I started back training in 2009, for my college, Mohawk Valley Community College…started doing the 400m in 2010, never liked it, but I just wanted to give it a shot. Every week I started getting better at it, so I just stuck to the 400m.” (Express, Aug 18, 2012).
  
Gordon was part of the Trinidad and Tobago relay teams that won bronze 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships, silver at the 2011 CAC Championships, and bronze at the 2010 CAC Games. He was selected for the 2012 National Olympic 4x400m relay team, but failed to achieve the qualifying time in the individual 400 metres at the Sagicor National Track and Field Championships. Determined to run in the Olympic 400m, Gordon travelled at his own expense to compete at the United States National Club Track and Field Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, in July 2012. There he achieved a personal best of 45.02 seconds, achieving the necessary 45.30 Olympic "A" standard.

Gordon clocked another personal best in the London 2012 Olympic 400 metre semi-final, achieving the fastest qualifying time. He went on improve his time and win bronze in the 400 metre final, becoming the second national to medal in this event. He secured another Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400 metre relay, with team mates Jarrin Solomon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deon Lendore.

Sources:

  • “Few Knew Lalonde Gordon” by Kern De Freitas. The Trinidad Express. August 18, 2012.
  • “King of Queens: New York-Based Lalonde Gordon has Grand Plans” by Kwame Lawrence. The Trindad Express. August 7, 2012.

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists

ROSA GUY 
Guy was born in Trinidad in 1922, but grew up in Harlem, New York City. She attended New York University where she studied theater and writing. After World War II, she formed a workshop that aimed to develop and aid in the publication of works by writers of the African Diaspora. This workshop later developed into the  Harlem Writers Guild which produced many successful African-American writers from the 1950s-1970s. Guy also belonged to the Black nationalist literary organization On Guard for Freedom.

In 1954, Rosa Guy wrote and performed in her first play, Venetian Blinds, which was successfully produced Off-Broadway at the Tropical Theater. Guy’s 1985 novel, My Love, My Love, Or The Peasant Girl was the basis for the Broadway musical Once on This Island, which ran for a year from 1990 to 1991. Guy's adult and young adult fiction was critically acclaimed and well-received. Her work has been awarded a Coretta Scott King Award, The New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year citation, and the American Library Association′s Best Book Award. Guy died in June 2012.

In 2012, Guy was awarded with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.

NOOR HASSANALI (1918-2006)
Noor Mohammed Hassanali was born on August 8th, 1918. He was the sixth in a muslim family of seven children. He was married in 1952 to the former Zalayhar Mohammed. They have two children, Khalid and Amena. President Hassanali went to Canaan and Corinth Presbyterian primary schools and then to Naparima College San Fernando. In 1937, he obtained a Higher Certificate in Latin, Geography, English and French. He was one of two students of the First Naparima College Higher School Certificate graduating class.

Prior to attending University between 1938-1943 he was a member of the teaching staff at Naparima College as French, Sports and Resident master. Mr. Hassanali attended the University or Toronto, Canada between 1943-1947. In 1947 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in law. He was called to the English Bar as a member of Gray’s Inn, London, England in June 1948. In August 1948 he was admitted to practice law in Trinidad and Tobago.

During the period 1948-1953 he went into practice as Barrister-at-Law in Trinidad and Tobago. Between 1953-1960 he served as magistrate in Victoria, Tobago, St Patrick, Caroni and St George West districts. In January 1960 he was appointed Senior Magistrate in Trinidad and Tobago. On 1st February 1965 he was appointed assistant Solicitor General in Trinidad. On 1st March 1966 Mr Hassanali was appointed Judge of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago. On June 1st 1978 he was appointed Justice of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago. In October 1985 Mr. Hassanali was Master of the Moots, Hugh Wooding Law School. In November 1985 he was a member of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and in December 1985 he was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force Commissions Board.

He was the second President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago between 1987-1997. A retired High Court Judge, President Hassanali was the first Indo-Trinidadian to hold the office of President and was the first Muslim Head of State in the Americas. He came to the presidency of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago with a reputation among colleagues for honesty, humility, dedication and for the consideration he always showed for legal practitioners while he served as a judge.

In 2003 he published a book of his speeches entitled Teaching Words in conjunction with the Naps Charitable Foundation.

In Trinidad and Tobago between 1948-1960 Mr. Hassanali was a member of Naparima College Administration Board. He was one of the former footballers awarded Certification of Honour by the San Fernando Borough Council for contribution to football at Skinner Park. He was also a member of the Executive Council of Northern President of National Scout Association for the term 1975-1977.


OTHER PRESIDENTS:

JOANNE HAYNES 
Haynes is an award-winning writer, educator, youth motivator and rapso performer. She is the founder of Pepperpot Productions, an organization that aims to educate the nation’s youth about the country’s heritage and to build patriotism. Her first novel, Walking, published by McMillan, is now a main text on the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Literature curriculum. In 2005, she won the Derek Walcott/TTW Children’s Literature Prize for her book Sapotee Soil. She was also a finalist in the 2001 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Her writing appears in the Maco Mere Journal of the Caribbean Women Writers and Scholarsthe Commonwealth Audio Compilation, and the Trinidad Express and Guardian newspapers.

Haynes was awarded a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award in 2012.

SIR PATRICK HOBSON
Patrick Hobson was born in 1909 and married Dora, and together they had one child, Patricia Stone. He attained his secondary school education at the Queen’s Royal College (QRC). In 1956, he became involved in politics when he was made a Nominated Member of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. He was a member of the Senate until 1961.

Sir Patrick Hobson took part in various high-level talks on several occasions, including The West Indies Independence Conference at Lancaster House in 1961, and the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Conference in 1962.

He held positions on several company boards including Chairman of Trinidad and Tobago  Television Co. Ltd (TTT), Director of Air Jamaica and Director of International Aeradio (Caribbean) Ltd. He also served on the executive of the Trinidad Chamber of Commerce.

In 1961, he was made a Knight Bachelor (Kt. Bachelor) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his contribution to public services in Trinidad and Tobago. He died on July 30, 1970.


Source:

  • “Death of Sir Patrick Hobson” July 31st 1970;

MERLE HODGE
Hodge is a retired Senior Lecturer in the Department of Liberal Arts at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. She has taught West Indian and African Diaspora Literature and Creative Writing at tertiary and secondary school levels. She currently facilitates numerous creative writing workshops. Hodge has written numerous non-fiction essays of literary criticism and on social issues in Trinidad and Tobago. Hodge is a founding member of the group Women Working for Social Progress and continues to be a prominent local activist.

Born in 1944, Hodge received both her elementary and high school education in Trinidad. As a student of Bishop Anstey's High School, she won the Trinidad and Tobago Girls Island Scholarship in 1962. The scholarship allowed her to attend University College, London, where she pursued studies in French. In 1965 she completed her B.A. Hons. and received a Master of Philosophy degree in 1967, the focus of which concerned the poetry of the French Guyanese writer, Leon Damas.

In 1979, Hodge went to Grenada to work with the Maurice Bishop regime. She was appointed director of the development of curriculum, and it was her job to develop and install a socialist education program. Hodge left Grenada in 1983 after the assassination of Bishop and the resulting U.S. invasion.

Hodge’s first novel, Crick Crack, Monkey, published in 1970, is firmly established as a West Indian classic and widely used on Caribbean Literature curriculums. Her only other novel, The Life of Laetitia, was published more than two decades later in 1993. Both are Trinidadian coming-of-age stories with enduring social messages.

In 2010, Hodge was honoured for her sterling contribution to world literature by the International Congress of Literature and in 2012 she received a NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.

TAJMOOL HOSEIN QC 
Tajmool Hosein qualified as a barrister in 1946 and developed considerable knowledge in the area of constitutional law. As a member of the Trinidad and Tobago delegation, he attended the Malborough House conference and contributed to the formulation of the 1962 Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. 
In 1961, he joined the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and stood as a candidate for Chaguanas in the elections of the same year. He won the seat and served as Member of Parliament for Chaguanas from 1961 to 1966. Mr. Hosein was awarded Silk in 1964 and the Trinity Cross in 1982.


Source:

  • Homer, Louis B.  “Rowdy talks lead to T&T’s independence.” Trinidad Express 23 Jan. 2012