Former Trinidad-Tobago President dies at 86

Maxwell Richards

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad  – Former President of Trinidad  and Tobago Professor George Maxwell Richards died at hospital here on Monday night. He was 86.

A source close to the family said Richards was taken to hospital on Monday night after suffering a heart attack.

Richards who was a former principal of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, served as President from March 7, 2003 to March 17, 2013.He was the fourth president of Trinidad and Tobago.

He was born in San Fernando in South Trinidad in 1931 and  was a student at Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain. From 1950 to 1951, he worked for the United British Oilfields of Trinidad (precursor to Shell Trinidad Ltd.) at Point Fortin from whom he received a scholarship to study chemical engineering. Richards then attended the University of Manchester (UMIST), where he took a BEng degree (1955) and an MEng degree (1957). He subsequently obtained a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge (Pembroke).

Richards returned to Trinidad and worked for Shell Trinidad Ltd from 1957 to 1965 before joining the Department of Chemical Engineering at the UWI. From 1980 to 1985  he served as pro-vice-chancellor and deputy principal of the university. He served as acting principal of the St. Augustine Campus from 1984 to 1985, and was confirmed in the position in 1985. He retired as principal in 1996 but continued to lecture at UWI.

As President, Richards was outspoken in his criticism of the upsurge of crime in Trinidad and Tobago. He was also well known as a mas’ aficionado and took an active part in  carnival celebrations.

He leaves his widow, Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards and two children, Maxine and Mark.