(Trinidad Express) Carib Queen Jennifer Cassar of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community has died.
Cassar, 66, died on Thursday.
Arima mayor Lisa Morris-Julian extended condolences on behalf of the Arima Borough Corporation.
Morris-Julian said the loss of Cassar was a blow to Arima’s foundation which is rooted on the contributions of the First Peoples.
She said the council laments the loss of a phenomenal woman who was of Carib descent.
“The council is thankful that she assisted in extensive work to keep persons of First Peoples lineage untied and thriving in the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community. It recognises her decades of labour which assisted to create a space in the Borough where the first Peoples are acknowledged and respected” she said.
Last year, the Government allowed for a one-off public holiday for the First Peoples Community, where Morris-Julian said the late Carib Queen was instrumental in her contributions to the festivities held during the Arima Fest celebrations, the Santa Rosa Festival and the First People’s Heritage Week.
In April 2009, Cassar represented the Santa Rosa First Peoples Carib Community at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders’ Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama in April of 2009.
Education Minister and Arima Member of Parliament Anthony Garcia also extended condolences on the passing of Cassar.
In a statement, Garcia referred to Cassar as a symbol of strength, will and power within the community.
He said Cassar’s career was vast as she worked in the public service for over forty years.
“She contributed to the development of her country through work in Education, Community Development, Culture, Sport, Health and the Judiciary. Today I take the opportunity to again express my humblest gratitude to Mrs. Jennifer Cassar for her yeoman service to the First Peoples Community, to the Borough of Arima and to Trinidad and Tobago. May her life be an example to those in and outside of the Carib community and may her legacy be carried with love, light and positivity. May she rest in peace,” he said.
On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I wish to extend condolences to the family of Santa Rosa Queen, Jennifer Cassar and the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community on the passing of the beloved stalwart.
Mrs. Jennifer Cassar worked tirelessly to sensitise us to the role and contributions of the First Peoples Community and continuously strived to preserve and revitalise Amerindian history and traditions.
The Carib Queen was one of the key advocates who lobbied Government to honour a long-standing call for a one-off holiday to formally recognise her Community’s presence and contribution to our country.
Government granted the request and the holiday was celebrated on October 13th, 2017 with Queen Cassar leading a procession through the streets of Arima.
She was a member of the Cabinet-appointed Amerindian Project Committee from 2007 and also a member of the Regional Carnival Committee of the National Carnival Commission with responsibility for coordinating National Stick Fighting Competitions.
She joined the Public Service of Trinidad and Tobago in 1971 and served this country for over forty years. She worked in several Ministries including Education, Community Development, Culture, Sports, Health and the Judiciary. She was also a certified Home Health Care Worker.
Queen Cassar’s life was a true depiction of dedication and devotion to her Community and service to the people. May she rest in peace.