Port of Spain reacts to the queen’s death

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FILE PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Piarco International Airport for a Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) on November 26, 2009. –

QUEEN Elizabeth II died in Balmoral, Scotland surrounded by family on Thursday, she was 96. Reactions in Port of Spain were mixed. Some expressed gratitude, others repudiation for colonialism, but all agreed she was a good woman, “a decent and nice lady.”

The queen’s 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, his office said. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the queen consort.

Kathleen Francis was advertising ice-cream on Frederick Street. She was shocked, “Who is going to take over now? The colonial spirit and ambience come like it gone. I feel, its like wow.”

She remembered being a little girl, “going to the complex, to see the motorcade with the Queen. Everybody had flags.”

Francis didn’t think the new queen consort was “suited” but added, “Anyway, I for Prince Charles.”

Kelvin Fraser, 85, was sitting in Woodford Square when he got the news.

“She was a very decent person, she had discipline. She leave a legacy with her family.”

He remembered, in 1952, he “break biche” at Richmond Street Boys’ to watch the coronation in front of Parliament. He and his friend, Desmond Davis, joined everybody in the street singing God Bless the Queen.

Anthony Bruno, 60, was also in the square.

He said, “I don’t follow the queen and them, because them was colonialists. Them did believe in taking people things, because England don’t have minerals, art, diamonds and gold.

“She was just a woman like anybody else. I don’t see why anybody have to worship she. Why they don’t worship the Virgin Mary? Because she name Queen and control the world by force, we have to worship she. The onliest queen I know I had was my mother (sic).”

Queen’s Royal College student Ishayu Ali, 15, said students began hearing the news at lunch time and had to tell teachers. Ali predicted an uncertain future for the United Kingdom, “Basically, Scotland is going to secede, Northern Ireland is going back to normal Ireland and, aside from that, the United Kingdom is basically over.”

A man who chose to react anonymously said he worked as a butler at President’s House when the nation became a Republic.

“I was the man who placed the queen’s belongings in boxes to send back to England. She was good to Trinidad. If she was controlling Trinidad still, we would be in a better state. Trinidad has become a police state.”

Amir Mohammed, 67, remembered lining the Eastern Main Road as a seven year-old student of Arouca Boys RC to glimpse the royal motorcade. Though the 1955 motorcade was for Princess Margaret, the queen’s sister.

He said, “I am so sorry to hear she died but, what I am saying, some people tend to not go home. She was asked to go home and give the son a chance. She wanted to die in the work and she fulfilled her desire. She could have given the son a break.”

Despite the fact that Queen was 96, so many people expressed great shock at her “sudden” passing.

One young student, who had not heard as yet refused to believe the news.

Another student, 14-year-old Mikhail Melville from St Mary’s College said, “It’s kind of surprising, because I did not expect it really, not this year. There are so many memes how she is immortal and keeps going, year after year. Suddenly, dying on a day like this is just so surprising.”

Jeniel County, 33, a sales clerk said, “In my lifetime I never thought that I would see the death of the queen. She was just one of those persons who you thought would never die because she’s always been around.”