“He was a lover of the mystical and fantastic,” said Rudolph Bissessarsingh who is the illustrator of all of his son’s books. “He was diagnosed with cancer on February 2, 2015. He said to me that he wanted to die on this date, because it is Friends Day and he saw himself as a friend to humanity.
My son used to say, ‘’everything in this universe is a river and I shall return to the river of consciousness when my time comes’,” Bissessarsingh said.
Looking at the hodge podge of books and artefacts at their Brooks Gardens, Quarry Village, Siparia home, Bissessarsingh expressed anger at medical doctors who for years did not detect his son’s pancreatic cancer. “He started to put on a lot of weight and spent hundreds of thousands doing tests to determine what was wrong with him for four years.
“They couldn’t find anything.
But then the same doctor who was sending him for three and four years of testing, took $43, 000 to put a fibre optic cable and said, ‘well, you are now dying from cancer.’ I will mince no words concerning that...I cannot reconcile the fact that if he was diagnosed at stage one, my son could have been here with me today,” Bissessarsingh said.
Angelo did not study history formally. He studied Agribusiness at the University of the West Indies and went on to work in the Ministry of Local Government and later in the Siparia Disaster Management Unit (SDMU). Rudolph said his son was in and out of consciousness for the past few months as a result of the morphine given to him for the pain.
The last time he spoke to him was two weeks ago.
“He said to me, ‘When I go, I only want two things. I want Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters to put my extempo song on radio and I want you (Rudolph) to finish the Tales of the Cocoa series.’ With all that was happening, I kept putting it off for a while. But now that he is gone, I have to say, ‘Alright, Angelo. I will finish it.” Bissessarsingh will be laid to rest on Sunday at 3 pm at Belgroves funeral home in San Fernando.
Tributes poured in yesterday.
President Anthony Carmona said, “I am devastated by the loss of a remarkable human being who was trying to save us from ourselves,” said Carmona. “We owe him a priceless debt of gratitude for championing the greatness of our culture, history and heritage and the goodness that lies within us all.” Minister of Public Administration and Communications Maxie Cuffie expressed condolences on behalf of Government. “He did valuable work as a historian, documenting the history of Trinidad and Tobago. I have a copy of his last book on my desk,” he told Newsday.
“The Government appreciates the contribution that he has made to the preservation of our history and our heritage. My condolences go out to his family and friends and the national community, amongst whom he had a large following.” Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar, said, “It is with deep sorrow that I learned of the passing of beloved author, historian and archivist Angelo Bissessarsingh who fought a valiant, but losing battle, with pancreatic cancer.” Sharing the hope of his father, that Angelo’s “consciousness will live on” and that he will “never die”, she said Angelo’s immortality is assured his work in creating the Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, his many books about us as a people and his writings in the press