Hochoy Charles –
THE TOBAGO House of Assembly (THA) will cover the funeral cost of the Assembly’s former chief secretary Hochoy Charles.
The commitment was given by THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine as he spoke with Newsday on Monday.
The 77-year-old Charles died on Sunday morning. Farley said Charles passed away at the Scarborough General Hospital at 4.26 am, having been ailing since July.
Charles served as the island’s first chief secretary from 1996 to 2000 under the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). He also served as a government senator and parliamentary secretary (1988-1991) in the NAR government led by ANR Robinson.
“The family is meeting today (Monday) to discuss funeral arrangements. So, we’re waiting to hear from them before we interject, but certainly we have already given our commitment to cover the costs of the funeral.”
He added: “We would want to have an honourable and a real Tobago send-off for him. One that demonstrates pride and gratitude in what he gave to the island, but, of course, we have to wait on the family because they ultimately would have the say in how they would want to see him be disposed at this time. So we respect that and we would give them their way, but certainly he’s deserving of the highest honours when it comes to his burial. We would certainly want to support in any way possible.”
Meantime, the People’s National Movement (PNM)’s Tobago Council political leader Ancil Dennis joins with the Tobago community in mourning the passing of an “quintessential Tobagonian, a bold, passionate and outspoken son of our beloved island.”
“Mr Charles was a fierce proponent and defender of the THA. Being the first chief secretary, he had the important and distinct task of charting a new course of governance for the island,” Dennis said.
He said Charles “held no punches as he took on any and everyone who he felt disrespected or downplayed the THA. The ‘Heavy Roller,’ as he was fondly called, exuded an indomitable spirit in his defence of Tobago.”
He said Charles, though his political opponent, was well respected within the PNM. He said his patriotism and statesmanship were vividly demonstrated when he joined with then PNM Tobago political leader Orville London in a beneficial partnership towards further autonomy for Tobago.
“On this the first day of 2024, we say farewell to a comrade, a fighter, a decisive and resolute Tobagonian. We extend deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all Tobagonians by extension,” Dennis said.