• Basdeo Panday
  • Lakshmi Persaud
  • Kamla Persad-Bissessar
  • Kenneth Ramchand
  • George Armsby Richards
  • George Maxwell Richards
  • Adrian Cola Rienzi
  • A.N.R. Robinson
  • Edwin Roberts

The information on this page is currently under review. In the interim please refer to the following websites:

Born in Trinidad in 1939, Persaud worked for several years as a teacher in the Caribbean before leaving to pursue a Doctorate in Geography at the Queen’s University, Belfast.  Since the 1970s, Persaud has lived mainly in the United Kingdom and she has written numerous articles on socio-economic concerns for newspapers and magazines over the years. In the late 1980s she began writing fiction, and her short story “See Saw Margery Daw” was broadcast by the BBC World Service.

Persaud's first novel, Butterfly in the Wind, was published by Peepal Tree in 1990 to enthusiastic reviews in the UKSunday Observer and The Sunday Times. Persaud has written six novels to date, and her work is used in Caribbean and post-colonial literature courses in a number of universities. In recognition of her work, Warwick University in England established a Lakshmi Persaud Research Fellowship at its Centre for Translation and Comparative Cultural studies. She was also recognized and awarded by the Indo-Caribbean Council, New York (ICC-NY) for the exploration in her writing of the Indo-Caribbean search for identity from a female perspective. In 2012, Persaud was honoured with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Award.

The information on this page is currently under review. In the interim please refer to the following websites:

Ramchand is Professor Emeritus of West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies, Professor Emeritus of English at Colgate University, and a former President of The University of Trinidad and Tobago. He has also been a Senior Fulbright Scholar affiliated to Yale University and the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma; a Visiting Professor at Indiana University, and a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation.

Ramchand is one of the Caribbean’s most prominent literary critics. He has written extensively on a many West Indian authors, including V.S. Naipaul, Earl Lovelace and Sam Selvon, and he has edited several significant cultural publications. Ramchand’s seminal text, The West Indian Novel and Its Background (1970), influenced the creation and internationalization of West Indian Literature as an academic discipline and his work transformed UWI’s syllabus in English.

In 1996, Ramchand was awarded a Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Gold for his work in Literature, Education, and Culture. In 2012, Ramchand was honoured with a NALIS Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.

Senator Richards served as the first post-independence Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago for seven years, from 1962 to 1967. Born in the neighboring Caribbean Island of St Vincent, he first attended the Belmont Boys R.C. Primary School then went on to study abroad at the Tutorial College, London. He studied Law at the University of London, and was subsequently called to the Bar in 1940. After studying in London, Mr. Richards returned to Trinidad and Tobago and became a member of the San Fernando Borough Council. He was one of the Foundation members of the West Indian National Party in 1942. He is also the father of Trinidad and Tobago’s current President, Mr. George Maxwell Richards.


Professor George Maxwell Richards, TC, CMT, PhD, was the fourth President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and served two consecutive terms spanning 2003-2013.  He was the first President who was not an Attorney-at-Law but had a distinguished academic career in chemical engineering.


Early Life and Education

Professor Richards was born on 1st December 1931 in San Fernando to George, a barrister, and Henrietta Martin, a teacher. He was one of five children.  He received his primary education at the San Fernando E.C. School, before winning a scholarship to Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain.  He was also the recipient of a scholarship to study chemical engineering from United British Oilfields of Trinidad Ltd.  He pursued chemical engineering at the University of Manchester where he obtained a bachelor’s (1955) and a master’s degree (1957), and later obtained a PhD degree from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge (1963).


Professional Life

Between 1950 and 1951, he started in the oil industry as a staff trainee with United British Oilfields of Trinidad Ltd., Point Fortin.  From 1957 to 1965, he held a number of managerial posts at Shell Trinidad Ltd. (previously United British Oilfields of Trinidad Ltd.).

In 1965, he joined the teaching staff at the St. Augustine Campus, University of the West Indies (UWI), eventually securing the position of Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1970.  During his UWI tenure, he served as Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and ascended the ranks to hold positions of Deputy Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor.  Professor Richards was Principal of this tertiary institution from 1985-1996.  He is credited with contributing to the establishment and development of an internationally recognised Faculty of Engineering at this university.  He was also instrumental in the establishment of the UWI Institute of Business (UWI-IOB) which became the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.


Professor Richards has served on the board of several local companies, including the Trinidad Publishing Company Limited (TPC), Trinidad and Tobago Oil Company Limited (TRINTOC), the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), the Salaries Review Commission, the National Training Board, the National Advisory Council, the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and the UWI-IOB.  He was also a member of several professional societies, including the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago, the Institute of Chemical Engineers (London), the Institute of Petroleum (London) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (London).


The Presidency

He was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on March 17, 2003.  He was inaugurated for a second term on March 17, 2008 until he demitted the Office of the President on March 17, 2013.  During his presidential tenure, he was vocal on the crime situation in the country, and lobbied for the independence of Trinidad and Tobago’s Service Commissions and Parliament. As holder of the Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which is the Patron of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association, he inspired the local sporting teams with his unwavering support.



He received two National Awards: the Chaconia Medal (Gold) for Public Service in 1977 and the Trinity Cross in 2003.  In 2003, he was also named Alumnus of the Year by UMIST, and received the Certificate of Honorary Fellowship from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (United Kingdom) and the Republic Day Award by Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT). In 2004, he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Pembroke College.  The Degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) was conferred on him by the University of Sheffield in 2005.  He became the first Chancellor of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) from 2005 to 2013.  In 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from UWI and in 2007, an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University. 


Personal Life

“Max” as he was fondly called, passed away on January 8, 2018 at the age of eighty-six (86).  He was married to Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richards, the cousin of former President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Noor Hassanali and Olympic long-distance runner Manny Ramjohn.  They had two children, Mark and Maxine.  He was well known for his involvement in Carnival, as a masquerader and host of the popular, annual all-inclusive party, “Friends to the Max.”  According to Baptiste-Clarke, Professor Max Richards introduced the all-inclusive fete concept to Trinidad and Tobago. 



Bagoo, Andre. “A Day in the Life of the President.” Newsday, 3 Mar. 2008, archives.newsday.co.tt/2008/03/03/a-day-in-the-life-of-the-president/. Accessed 27 May 2021.


Baptiste-Clarke, Dionne. “Watch: UWI Fete 2020 Honours Former President Max Richards.” Loop News, 30 Jan. 2020, tt.loopnews.com/content/watch-uwi-fete-2020-honours-former-president-max-richards. Accessed 1 Jun. 2021.


Connelly, Corey. “Guard of Honour for Max Today as he demits Office.” Newsday, 17 Mar. 2013, pp. 3, 21.


“George Maxwell Richards.” 50th Anniversary of Independence Commemorative Special, Newsday, 31 Aug. 2012, p. 68.


“George Maxwell Richards.” Trinidad & Tobago Icons Vol 2, NIHERST, icons.niherst.gov.tt/icon/george-maxwell-richards-tt2/. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.

“George Maxwell Richards, Former President of the Republic Dies.” Tv6tnt.com,  

9 Jan. 2018, www.tv6tnt.com/news/local/george-maxwell-richards-former-president-of-the-republic-dies/article_cf47382c-f4d3-11e7-97d1-373bff472661.html. Accessed 1 Jun. 2021.


"Honorary Degree for President." UWI Today, Sunday Guardian, 15 Oct. 2006, p. 5.


"Installation of UTT’s Chancellor." Sunday Guardian, 3 Nov. 2013, B16.


“The Lasting Legacy of Max Richards.” UWI Today, Feb. 2018, sta.uwi.edu/uwitoday/archive/february_2018/article4.asp. Accessed 14 Oct. 2020.


"NGO Presents Republic Day Award to ‘The People’s President’." Trinidad Guardian,

25 Sept. 2003, p. 11.


Polo, Dareece. "Former President George Maxwell Richards Dies." Loop News, 8 Jan. 2018, tt.loopnews.com/content/former-president-george-maxwell-richards-dies.

Accessed 1 Jun. 2021.


“PM’s Letter to President Richards as he Demits Office.” Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, www.news.gov.tt/content/pms-letter-president-richards-he-demits-office#.YV-O830pDIUAccessed 2 Oct. 2020.


Rampersad, Joan. “Memories of Max Live on.” Newsday, 9 Jan. 2018, newsday.co.tt/2018/01/09/memories-of-max-live-on/. Accessed 1 Jun. 2021.


Rowley, Keith C. “Condolences on the Passing of Former President Professor George Maxwell Richards.” Office of the Prime Minister - Republic of Trinidad and Tobago,             8 Jan. 2018, www.opm.gov.tt/condolences-on-the-passing-of-former-president-professor-george-maxwell-richards/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2020.


Sookraj, Savitri. "And Now to President Max." Trinidad Guardian, 16 Mar. 2003, p. 4.


Sydney, Albert W. B. Oaths of Allegiance: A Biographical Profile of the Heads of State of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Port of Spain, Albert WB Sydney, 2009.


"10 Notable Achievements of Former President George Maxwell Richards." Loop News, 9 Jan. 2018, tt.loopnews.com/content/10-notable-achievements-professor-george-maxwell-richards. Accessed 28 Jun. 2021.


“TTOC Remembers Richards as a Passionate Supporter of Sports and Youth.” Loop News, 13 Jan. 2018, tt.loopnews.com/content/ttoc-remembers-richards-passionate-supporter-sports-and-youth. Accessed 1 Jun. 2021.


Newspaper articles can be found in the George Maxwell Richards biographical file held in the Information File Collection, Heritage Library Division, NALIS.

Labour leader, barrister, trade unionist and politician. His real name was Krishna Deonarine, but he changed it to Adrian Cola Rienzi, “Cola Rienzi” being the name of a 14th century Italian patriot who struggled for the rights of the peasants. Adrian Cola Rienzi joined forces with Cipriani at the outset of Cipriani’s career but broke with him and formed the Trinidad Citizens League in 1936. He was considered to be representing the Indian sugar workers, although he appeared to be just as interested in the fate of the other major ethnic group, the Africans.

When the oilfield workers rioted in 1937, Rienzi, who had a most cordial relationship with the leader of the oilfield workers, Uriah Butler (and was the legal representative of Butler’s party), showed great solidarity with Butler who went into hiding. While Butler was in hiding, Rienzi mediated between him and the government, trying to obtain a safe conduct for him which was not conceded. On July 25, 1937, in order to keep high morale and solidarity among the oil workers in the absence of Butler, he formed the Oilfield Workers Trade Union. The workers made him their President-General. During that period, he also helped to form the All-Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Trade Union and served as the President of this union.

After Butler gave himself up in September 1937 and was arrested and tried, Rienzi, as his counsel, brilliantly defended him in the court and received high commendation from the trial judge. Butler was jailed for two years and during this period and Butler’s subsequent detention on war security grounds, Rienzi made spectacular efforts to keep the Butler followers united and Butler’s image alive. Indeed, it is due largely to Rienzi that when Butler was released in 1945 he was received warmly and with great acclaim.

Earlier, in January 1938, under the banner of the trade union movement, Rienzi fought and won the seat for San Fernando at the Legislative Council elections that year. Speaking in the Legislative Council on June 16, 1939, he called for the observance of June 19, the anniversary of the Oilfield Riots, as a public holiday. He was ridiculed then, and he heard Captain Cipriani declare: “All those who have the best interests of the working classes at heart, would like to forget forever June 19, and are not asking for the making of a day for the adulation of false heroes.” (However, in 1973 the Government declared the anniversary, June 19th, as Labour Day to commemorate the oilfield riots of 1937).

Rienzi became mayor of San Fernando in November 1939 and administered the borough for three consecutive terms, until November 1942. He was a member of the franchise committee which was appointed in 1941, and strongly advocated universal adult suffrage. He was made a member of the Executive Council in 1941, but he did not have a long stay in the House. He retired from active politics in 1944 at the relatively young age of 39. So far as his legal career was concerned, he was made a Second Crown Council in 1944, First Crown Counsel in 1949, and Senior Crown Counsel in 1952. He was Assistant Attorney-General from 1953 to 1958, Acting Solicitor-General in 1959, and Acting Director of Public Prosecutions from 1959 to 1961. His last post was that of Assistant Solicitor-General in 1964. He died on July 21, 1972.


  • Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. London: The Scarecrow Press, 1977. 480 - 481.


On Wednesday 9th April, 2014 the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago mourned the loss of former President Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson who died at the age of eighty-seven. President Robinson holds the distinction of being the only person to serve in the capacity of Chairman, Tobago House of Assembly (1980-1986), Prime Minister (1986-1991) and President (1997-2003).

Mr. Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson was a former Prime Minister and President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and one of the most experienced parliamentarians in the Caribbean.

Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson was born in Calder Hall, Tobago, on December 16th, 1926. He attended the Castara Methodist School where his father was the Head Master. From there he was the first Bowles Scholar to Bishop’s High School, Tobago, in 1939, and later the first House scholarship winner from Bishop’s High School in 1942. Mr Robinson was married to the former Patricia Rawlins. They have two children David and Ann-Margaret.

In 1947, he obtained a BSc in Economics in London, and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (London University) as an external student in 1949. In 1953, he passed the Final Bar Exam at Inner Temple in London. That same year, he was admitted to St. John's College, Oxford, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and then a master’s degree in this same field of study. He was admitted to practice as a Barrister-at-Law in Trinidad and Tobago in 1955.

On his return to Trinidad and Tobago, he had the desire to change the social and economic conditions of his people and a desire to redress the negative effects of an outdated colonial status as a form of government. He recognized an urgent necessity for creating a strong political force, supported by the collective will of the people.

Mr Robinson has had a long and distinctive political career. In 1981, the DAC joined with the United Labour Front (ULF) and the Tapia House Movement to form the National Alliance, which later entered an accommodation with the Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR) and won the 1983 Local Government elections. This victory led to the joining of these four parties to become the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) in 1985. When the NAR became the first party to defeat the PNM in the 1986 general election, Mr. Robinson became the third Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for the period 1986-1990.

During his tenure, the Parliament was attacked by an armed group, and he and other members of Parliament were held hostage. Mr Robinson has represented the constituency of Tobago East in the House of Representatives since 1961 and was appointed Minister Extraordinaire and Adviser as part of UNC/NAR coalition government from November 1995 until his election as President. Mr. Robinson became the third President of the Republic, serving from March 19, 1997 to March 17, 2003.

Mr. Robinson’s political experience also extends to international matters. 

As Prime Minister, Mr. Robinson was responsible for several regional initiatives, including the Caribbean Regional Economic Conference, the proposed Caribbean Court of Appeal and the West Indian Commission chaired by Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. He has also represented Trinidad and Tobago at many international conferences and at the United Nations where he has been acknowledged as a leading proponent of the International Criminal Jurisdiction since 1972 serving as consultant and Executive Director of the Foundation. 

Mr. Robinson has also held the following positions: Representative of Trinidad and Tobago on the Council of the University of the West Indies; Director of Trinidad and Tobago's Industrial Development Corporation; Consultant to the United Nations Secretary-General on crime and the abuse of power; Director of the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (over 15 years); Vice-Chair of the International Council of the United Nations affiliated body "Parliamentarians for Global Action".

He has been the recipient of a number of other Honours and Awards:

  • The Distinguished International Criminal Law Award from the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court-UN Affiliate (1977)
  • The Distinguished Human Development Award from the International Conference on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law-UN Affiliate (1983)
  • Individual of the Year Award, Express Newspaper (1986);
  • Distinguished Service Award and Presidential Medal of Honour and of Merit from California Lutheran University (1987)
  • Senior Counsel, Legal Profession of Trinidad & Tobago (1988)
  • Venezuela's highest award - the Order of the Liberator Simon Bolivar Award (1990)
  • An Honorary Degree of Civil Laws from the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria (1991)
  • Title of Chief of Ile Ife by the Ooni of Ife, Nigeria (1991);
  • Knight of the Order of St. John (1992)
  • Trinidad and Tobago’s highest award, the Trinity Cross of the Order of the Trinity (1997)
  • Defender of Democracy Award, Parliamentarians for Global Action, United Nations (1997)
  • Order of the Caribbean Community (1998)
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of the West Indies (1998)
  • Father of the Year Award, Guardian Newspaper (1999); Honorary Vice President, International Association of Penal Law (1999)
  • Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize (1999)
  • Republic Day Award, Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (2000)
  • Distinguished Peace Leadership Award, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (2002)
  • The Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama and a Scroll from the Association of Caribbean States (2005)
  • Tribute award by the International Criminal Court (2008)
  • The Crown Point International Airport in Tobago, was renamed “ANR Robinson International Airport” (2011).
  • He was also a Freeman of the cities of Los Angeles (California), Thousand Oaks (California) and Caracas (Venezuela), an Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, (Oxford University), and a visiting scholar to the Harvard Law School, United States of America (USA). 

Among his many publications are:

  • The New Frontier and the New Africa (1961)
  • The Mechanics of Independence (1971)
  • Caribbean Man (1986)
  • In the midst of it: autobiography of former President and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (2012)


“Airport renamed.” Guardian 20 May 2011: 9A. Print.

50th Anniversary of Independence Commemorative Special. Newsday 31 Aug. 2012: 67-68. Print.

Anthony, Michael. Historical Dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. Lanham, Md: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1997. Print.

Bagoo, Andre. Robbie at peace with Pat. Newsday 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

“Members of Past Parliaments: Arthur N.R. Robinson, Member for Tobago East.” ttparliament.org. Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and

Tobago, 2008. Web. 20 Oct 2010.

Robinson, A.N.R. Caribbean Man: Speeches from a Political Career. Trinidad, W.I.: Lexicon Trinidad Ltd., 2001. Print.

Sydney, Albert WB. Oaths of Allegiance: A Biographical Profile of the Heads of State of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago: Albert WB Sydney, 2009. Print.

For additional Information see: The Trinidad and Tobago Parliament Website.


Edwin Roberts first made an impression on the athletic world at Guaracara Park in 1961 when he defeated Milka Singh, who had placed fourth in the Olympic Games in Rome the previous year.

His international debut was made at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Kingston, Jamaica in 1962 when he won silver medals in the 200 metres and in the 4x100 metres relay, and a bronze in the 4x400.

Later in the year, he represented the country at the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, but was eliminated in the second round of both the 100 and 200 metre events.

He later accepted an athletic scholarship at the North Carolina College and was a regular on national teams from 1964 to 1972, winning gold in the 200 metres, and three silver medals in the 100 metres and both relays at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico in 1966.

In the same year, he won a bronze in 100 yards, silver in the 220 yards and shared in a world record of three minutes 2.8 seconds in the 4x440 yards relay in Kingston, Jamaica.

Four years later, Roberts won two silver medals in the 200 metres and 4x400 relay at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. In his lone representation at the Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, in 1971, Roberts won bronze in the 200 metres as well as the 4x400 metres relay.

Edwin Roberts goes down in history as the individual who won this country's first Olympic medal in athletics when he won bronze in the 200 metres at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. He also shared in a bronze in the 4x400-metre relay.

In 1968, he again represented T&T at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico, placing fourth in the 200 metres. He became the second Trinidadian to compete in three successive Olympic Games then bowed out of competition after the 1972 Olympic Games.

See more information on Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic medalists