‘Happy warrior’ Guerra – a loss to TT, laid to rest
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Tuesday, January 1 2013
It was an emotional farewell for Senior Counsel (SC) Theodore Guerra as he was laid to rest yesterday morning following a funeral service at the Holy Cross RC Church, Santa Cruz.
The church was packed to capacity as hundreds of persons, including members of the legal fraternity, such as Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Justice Anthony Carmona, Justice Paula Mae-Weekes, Justice Hayden St. Clair-Douglas, Pamela Elder SC, Dana Seetahal SC, Avery Sinanan SC, came out to pay their last respects.
The service was also attended by other notable persons including Minister of Community Development, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, and cricketers Dwayne Bravo and Darren Bravo.
In delivering a heartfelt eulogy which at certain times brought her to tears, Elder heavily praised her chamber mate, describing him as a “happy warrior” who always gave his all.
“I have been told by many, that one should not mourn the loss of loved ones, but celebrate their lives, and the gift of them being here. I must confess I find it difficult to celebrate, because I am in so much pain. I mourn, I grieve, I weep, unabashedly for what we have all lost.
“Teddy’s death is a loss to his family. It’s a loss to his community. It’s a loss to his friends in the legal profession, and it is a hard, hard blow to his chambers, and the people who he so dearly loved. We have lost a man who exemplified the highest attributes to mankind — hard working, compassionate, dedicated. Quite simply he was a man who loved life, and lived it to the fullest,” Elder said.
She also touched heavily of Guerra’s passion for cricket, steelpan, calypso and farming, noting fondly of a story she was told where the deceased attorney raced several young persons in his community recently, and still beat them.
“As an attorney, his cross-examination skills were legendary. He could stand for hours without paper in hand, and would address a jury and convince them of his client’s innocence, or confuse them to such an extent that they could not reach a decision beyond reasonable doubt.
“He was witty, mischievous, and would often taunt prosecutors, even police prosecutors, without restraint. But you knew it was nothing personal, as in the coffee shop, or at the bar table as he awaited for the arrival of the magistrate, he would calmly and politely interact with everyone he met. He was known as the people’s choice, he was the poor man’s lawyer. He spoke with equal force for both rich and poor clients,” Elder said.
Guerra, 80, of La Pastora, Santa Cruz, died at about 9 am on Friday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex Mt Hope.
The long-standing attorney who celebrated his birthday on December 23, suffered a minor stroke earlier last year.
He had been home recovering until recently when he was diagnosed with a problem in the colon.
Guerra had been warded at hospital since last Sunday after he underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured colon.
He also suffered a minor heart attack late last year.
The former police officer read law in the United Kingdom before he was called to the Bar in TT in 1960. He took silk in October, 1993. Guerra served as MP for Port-of-Spain South in the NAR regime between 1986 and 1991.
Despite his age, he continued to practise up to earlier this year, representing clients in several High Court matters.