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Maxine: Dedicate Carnival 2018 to former president

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Chief Justice Ivor Archie offers his sympathies to Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, wife of former President George Maxwell Richards, during yesterday’s public viewing of the body at the Parliament building in Port-of-Spain. Also in photo are Speaker of the House, Bridgid Annisette-George, left, and Major Leslie-Ann Mohammed of the T&T Defence Force. Photo by:Anisto Alves

The family of former President George Maxwell Richards has one wish—for Carnival 2018 to be dedicated to him.

Putting forward the proposal was Richards’ daughter, Maxine, as she spoke to the media in the lobby of the Parliament, Port-of-Spain, where her father’s body will lie in State for a second day today, this time at the National Academy for the Performing Arts from 10 am to 5 pm.

His body will be taken through the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies from 7.45 am today as well.

Richards, 86, the country’s fourth president died last Monday from a heart attack.

His funeral service will take place tomorrow at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain.

On Saturday, Maxine said she saw her father’s body and on Sunday the family had a private viewing.

“Today, when I came to see him, it has been even harder,” she said.

Since Richards’ death last Monday, Maxine admitted that things have not been easy for her mother Jean Ramjohn-Richards who spent 50 years of her life with Richards.

When Ramjohn-Richards viewed her husband’s body yesterday she could not hold back the tears.

“My mother has been trying to be strong as she can possibly be. When she was leaving she asked my dad if it was okay to leave. She wanted him to know that she was leaving,” Maxine said.

Every Sunday, Maxine said she would visit her parents and spend time with them, stating that on Sunday she realised that her dad was gone for good.

She said it was comforting to know that her father made a lasting impression on so many people’s minds and hearts, as those who came across to her to extend condolences to her “genuinely looked sorry that he (Richards) was gone.”

Asked what his family thought would be a fitting tribute to her father, Maxine said “it would be lovely if this Carnival could be for him.

To ensure that Richards’ legacy lives on, Maxine said the family would establish a fund from which monies would be donated to “underprivileged” children and “young people who want to be engineers (chemical) like him…to raise funds for scholarships for them as well.”

As an educator, Maxine said her father would have wanted this.

Her fondest time with her dad, Maxine said was travelling around the globe during vacation.

And as an adult, Maxine said she partied, play mas and attended functions with father, stating that he always put his family first.

“A lot of people don’t get opportunities to do that. Some people wanted to party with my parents more than me.”

The joy and fond memories Maxine said her family shared, “I wish all families could have.”

Maxine told the T&T Guardian last night that seeing her mother weeping over her father’s body yesterday was “distressing.”

Asked how Ramjohn-Richards has been coping, Maxine said “not good”, stating that what her mother missed most about her dad was “his companionship, laugh, conversations. They were like two peas in a pod.”

Most times, Maxine said her parents were inseparable.

“When you see Max you see Jean. When you see Jean you see Max,” telling how close they were.

Maxine said invitations were extended to dignitaries outside of T&T, but could not say who will be part of the funeral service.


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