Imbert: Rondon was greatest local government representative

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mourners gather to pay their respects to the late Toco councillor Martin “Terry” Rondon on Wednesday at St Charles RC Church, Tunapuna. – Joey Bartlett

Acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister Colm Imbert said late longstanding local Toco councillor Martin “Terry” Rondon was the greatest local government representative he had ever come across in his life.

Imbert spoke at Rondon’s funeral on Wednesday. Despite the heavy rain, hundreds attended the funeral at St Charles RC Church in Tunapuna.

Imbert spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister, who is in London.

“I have some quotes from Terry: he used to say, ‘I took a job to see about people, and I’m not putting my mouth in water to say nothing (sic)” Imbert said Another quote was, “Leave the balisier and the rising sun downstairs.”

Rondon was highly regarded for serving all the people in his district, regardless of their political affiliations.

Imbert highlighted Rondon’s 30-year tenure with the People’s National Movement (PNM), emphasising his integral role in the party’s success over the years.

“You can tell from the tributes that he really was a fair man…I don’t know any other practitioner of local government, or any other elected person, that could even come close to Terry in terms of his commitment, his devotion and his time in local government.”

He said Rondon lived in local government, calling him “Mr Sangre Grande.”

Even when the PNM did not perform well in the 2010 general and local elections, Rondon still won his local government seat.

In an emotional tribute, Rondon’s daughter, Josanne Rondon, said, “Every girl dreams of being a princess with the tiara and fancy dress. But I never had to dream; I lived the fairy tale. My daddy was my king; I lived the life of a princess. I am speaking without a script. because my daddy always told me if you love someone, it should come from the heart. What I will tell you today is: I have never known another love.

He was her everything and her world is now empty, she said.

“My heart is shattered and I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” she said, before becoming inconsolable and unable to finish her tribute.

Former Sangre Grande Regional Corporation chairman Anil Juteram called for the Matelot Community School and Matelot Community Centre to be renamed in Rondon’s honour.

Former FIFA vice president and government minister Jack Warner called Rondon one of the most remarkable human beings he had ever met.

“He used to come to me once a week at five to four every Monday morning. I would see him in my office asking for help for roads, bridges, etc.”

He agreed with Juteram’s call for renaming the institutions in Rondon’s honour.

“Many of us felt that Terry had reached the stage to be elevated from councillor to MP, but others thought otherwise, and Terry spoke to me about that.

“The point I came to tell you is, at the end of the day, the best legacy we can leave for Terry, especially our local politicians, is to live a life of Terry. Be a Terry in your own self.”

Rondon died of a heart attack on November 28. His daughter told Newsday he had just returned from physical therapy and complained of feeling unwell.