The announcement was made in a statement issued yesterday by the Office of the Prime Minister. The statement said Sir Ellis’ family will hold a private funeral service from 9.30 am at the Church of the Assumption in Maraval.
After this service, the State funeral will be held at the NAPA from 11.30 am.
Following the State funeral, there will be a private family service for Sir Ellis at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery where he will be buried. The Office of the Prime Minister also announced that tomorrow and on Thursday, Sir Ellis’ body will lie in State for public viewing in the rotunda of the Red House in Port-of-Spain from 6 am to 6 pm.
Condolence books have been opened to the public at the Red House, the San Fernando City Corporation, Point Fortin Borough Corporation, Chaguanas Borough Corporation, Arima Borough Corporation and the Tobago House of Assembly.
The last State funeral in this country was that of this country’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams on April 6, 1981 following his death in office on March 29 of that same year.
Sir Ellis died at his Pine Grove home in Maraval on December 30, two days after his 93rd birthday.
On November 24, 2010, Sir Ellis was hospitalised at the West Shore Clinic in Westmoorings after he suffered a stroke.
Earlier yesterday, Sir Ellis’ son Peter Clarke told Newsday arrangements are being made to have a private funeral service for Sir Ellis on Friday morning, which will be open to only family and close friends. He said the State funeral will be held in the afternoon, after which Sir Ellis will be laid to rest.
Clarke made the disclosure following a meeting with government and other officials at the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Complex.
He said the entire family is overwhelmed by the tributes for Sir Ellis that have been coming from inside and outside of Trinidad and Tobago. He said it was “a great honour” to see Sir Ellis being recognised for the man that he was.
Clarke also said the family has not held discussions with the Government on what was the best way to honour his father but these will happen in due course. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar suggested a constitutional reform institution be established in Sir Ellis’ name given the fact he was the architect of this country’s Independence Constitution in 1962 and its Republican Constitution in 1972.
Attending yesterday’s meeting were Ministers in the Office of the Prime Minister Collin Partap and Rodger Samuel, National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Capt Gary Griffith and senior officers from the Police Service and the Defence Force.
Government officials said teams visited possible sites which could be used as venues for the State funeral before choosing NAPA.
Newsday was also reliably informed that the meeting also dealt with the use of a gun carriage to bear Sir Ellis’ casket and closing off certain streets in Port-of-Spain while the State funeral is taking place.
Officials also indicated that several Caricom Heads of State have expressed an interest to attend Sir Ellis’ funeral.
Among those expected to attend are current Caricom chairman, Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding, new Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Guyana President Bharat Jagdeo. Officials at the Parliament yesterday said arrangements can be made for Sir Ellis’ body to lie in State at the rotunda of the Red House.
Dr Eric Williams’ body lay in State in the rotunda of the Red House for one week after his death and before his State funeral.
Chairman of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee Reginald Vidale yesterday said the State funeral being given to Sir Ellis was similar to the one given to TT’s first Governor General Solomon Hochoy in 1973, after Sir Ellis succeeded him in 1972.
Vidale suggested the Hall of Justice be renamed the Sir Ellis Hall of Justice in his honour and Sir Ellis be called “the grandfather of the nation.” In her official statement last Friday on Sir Ellis’ death, the Prime Minister did refer to him as the nation’s grandfather.
Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain joined with the rest of the country in mourning the death of Sir Ellis.
“Apart from his magnanimous political and social contributions over the decades, Sir Ellis Clarke established himself as a pillar of the local Roman Catholic community, contributing greatly on social justice issues and serving the Church in a variety of ways,” the Archdiocese said in a statement. Sir Ellis was a devoted Roman Catholic for his entire life.
The Archdiocese added Sir Ellis left an important legacy for future generations to follow, bringing strong ethical values in all of his contributions in public life.