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What I wrote to Karl in 2009

What I wrote to Karl in 2009 on the occasion of my 60th Birthday….Rest in Peace to a great friend.


I still find it very difficult to call you Karl! This is because of the respect and high regard in which I hold you. My late parents particularly my mother was ever proud that I had joined the ONR, and, as a mother often said that you treated me as a son. She felt that I was safe in your care. This for some reason pleased her immensely.

With God’s blessings I shall be sixty years old on the 14th April 2009. I have begun to look back at my life reviewing my successes and failures, my strengths and limitations even as I go into the final stage of my earthly existence.

Today, I want to express my gratitude to you for the generous contribution you made to my life and career. Had it not been for your confidence in me, today, I would not have been known in the national community as I am known today. In addition, I would not have grown as a person as I grew during those years. I learnt from you more than ever, that power and position brings responsibility, that integrity is the only ornament worth wearing on one’s wrist.

You gave me an opportunity that few persons at the age of thirty would have been given. There are three particular moments when you pushed me forward during the elections of 1981. Firstly, at the ONR Convention at Chaguaramas when you sent me a little blue piece of paper as I was speaking to simply say, “speak on.” Secondly, at Woodford Square, you did not turn up and seemed to have deliberately given me an opportunity to speak to a crowd of at least 20,000 persons. Thirdly, you stood by my side at the cinema in Port of Spain when a vote of no-confidence was being debated against me. You demonstrated a faith in me that few have ever done. I grew out of these experiences.

The love and interest you showed in me during those years helped me to become much more self aware of myself as a person and helped me to recognize the importance of standing up for country before self. No one apart from my parents and my family have wanted to see me succeed as you did. Those years in the ONR were defining years for me as a person.

Though I lost my job at the University two weeks after the 1981 elections, I must admit that it never bothered me. In fact, the opportunity to be in politics and to be part of your team developed me to face success and failure with equanimity. I learnt to smile in the face of adversity.I want to particularly record my gratitude for the fact that you never abandoned me after the elections of 1981. In fact had it not been for your strength and bargaining ability with Mr Panday, I would not have been made the Chairman of the then St Patrick County Council in 1983. Subsequently, my appointment to Brazil as Ambassador was I know, due to your persistence with Mr Robinson. Undoubtedly, you have in my crucial thirties affected in a positive way, my life and career and gave me a national profile, but more importantly dignity. For all of this I owe you a significant debt of gratitude and by way of this letter wish to so express.

Thank you for caring for me when it mattered. May God generously bless you and your family and may you enjoy good health and a long life.

With best regards

Surujrattan Rambachan

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