The Port-of-Spain City Corporation provided tents, seating, and a large television screen, at the northern area of the square to allow persons in the capital city the opportunity to be part of the historic service.
Approximately 50 persons, were seated under the tents, while close to 100 others viewed the ceremony seated under trees and park benches. Others passing through the park stopped and took in the “once in a lifetime event.”
Following a private ceremony at the Church of the Assumption in Maraval, a State Funeral was held for Sir Ellis at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), in Port-of-Spain at 11.30 am. The body was then taken to the Lapeyrouse Cemetery for private burial.
Bruce Peters said he felt honoured to view the service from Woodford Square.
“The University of Woodford Square was so christened as it played an integral part in this country gaining independence. Sir Ellis was also a stalwart during that time, so it is only appropriate that we gather here to bid him farewell,” said Peters. He also explained that another symbol of this country’s democracy, the Red House, stood opposite the Square.
Sir Ellis’ body arrived at NAPA at 11.45 am and stole the attention of everyone at Woodford Square.
“My pores stood up, and I felt a sense of sadness when the body was taken out of the hearse and ceremonially taken into the auditorium,” exclaimed Sandra Wilkinson.
The patrons also hung onto every word of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s address, and applauded at the end. Many expressed satisfaction at the manner in which she paid tribute to Sir Ellis.
Merlin Corbin, from Couva also brought her seven-year-old granddaughter, Akayla Busby, who attends the Couva Anglican Primary School, to Woodford Square to view the ceremony.
“I felt it was very important to bring her here to be part of such a historic moment. I wanted her to know about Sir Ellis Clarke, the person he was, and about everything he did for Trinidad and Tobago. I am also taking her to NAPA so she can be there when the body is taken on the procession to the cemetery,’ Corbin said.
Elliot Jackman, from Long Circular in St James, said viewing the funeral ceremony at Woodford Square, was a way of paying final respects to a man who he regarded as “a man worth emulating.”
Yvonne Bobb-Smith expressed pleasure at Sir Ellis’s State Funeral service, however, she observed there was a lack of women speakers.
“The absence of women speakers at the funeral, even from the Church was very disappointing, as I believe women in this country are taken for granted. Also, I knew that Sir Ellis loved the ladies, and no woman, except the Prime Minster, paid respect to him,” explained Smith.