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Carmona’s parents pleased as punch

By VASHTEE ACHIBAR Tuesday, February 5 2013

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PROUD PARENTS: Dennis Stephen Carmona and his wife, Barbara, at their Fyzabad home yesterday. They are the parents of Justice Anthony Carmona, who is ...
PROUD PARENTS: Dennis Stephen Carmona and his wife, Barbara, at their Fyzabad home yesterday. They are the parents of Justice Anthony Carmona, who is ...

“This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”, Justice Anthony Carmona’s father, 86-year-old Dennis Stephen Carmona reacted to the news yesterday that his eldest son “Tony” had been selected to be the next President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

“ It’s the crowning achievement of my life. I am very, very, very happy. Words cannot describe how I feel.” he gushed, a smile lighting up his face as he leaned back on the sofa next to his wife, Barbara.

Speaking at the family’s Crest Camp, Fyzabad home, where Newsday broke the news of their son’s elevation to the highest office in the land, the senior Carmona and his wife Barbara appeared stunned at the news, asking whether we were sure and whether the news had been confirmed by the Prime Minister.

Assured that everything was in order, the senior Carmona added, “I feel real, real good. You bring tidings of great joy. When they had the line up on the newspapers, I say Tony on top because of his past experience. He graduated at the top of his class. He’s articulate, he’s brilliant, he’s well spoken, he’s a good person, he’s kind-hearted. He’s a Presentation (College) boy you know. He did well in school. He graduated with honours at University,” he added.

As he searched for more superlatives to describe his son, Carmona’s mother, Barbara, chipped in, “I feel great, God bless him, he’s earnest, he’s true, he’s kind, he’s humble, a people’s person, he’s compassionate. I knew he would be President one day. In fact I have the dress put aside for whenever that occasion would arise,” she revealed.

Adding, “I am a mother of six, and my husband and I worked hard with our children. Tony is my eldest son. I was a housewife all my life, so I had the time to spend with my children and my husband, and we tried our best. When my husband came from work, after he took a bath and changed his clothes he would line up all six of them, three boys and three girls around the table and go through their lessons with them,” she explained.

“We have been married for 61 years. I have a good husband. My husband would pile us up in his car on weekends and take us to different places to get to know the country. We had lots of good times,” she said.

She reminisced on his boyhood days, and explained that from a very early age, if there was a dispute with anyone, whether it was among his friends, or his family, Tony would ask to hear both sides, and then give his view on the matter. She said at the time it didn’t occur to her that this was a judge in the making. But she added all her children had a happy childhood, they took part in sports and played cricket in the neighbour’s backyard. But education was a top priority in the Carmona’s household. (One of Carmona’s brother is a doctor, he’s Dr Joseph Carmona, the District Medical Officer for St Patrick, another sister, Faye is an attorney-at-law) Barbara explained, “during the week my children were not allowed to watch TV. They had to stick to their schoolwork. On weekends they looked at Lassie, or Little House on the Prairie and then we turned off the TV”, she said.

“I believed in proper upbringing for our children. As a mother, I never beat my children. I spoke to them firmly and they knew their limits. My children never gave me any trouble. I am so proud of all my children,” she said smiling broadly.

As Newsday interviewed Carmona’s brother-in-law Vijay Forster (he’s married to one of Carmona’s sisters, Cheryl) stopped by. Told that his brother-in-law had been selected as the next President of the Republic, Vijay exclaimed, “he’s the best person they could have chosen. Anyhow you look at him, he’s well suited for the post, academically, socially, he’s known internationally, he is in the arts, do you know he sang calypso, yes his sobriquet was ‘Prophet of Sisyphus’. He’s honest, caring, compassionate and he’s the right Trinbagonian mix. Whenever he goes anywhere there’s always a crowd around him, he’s always helping people and despite him reaching the level of a High Court judge, he has never lost the common touch. I think his selection is one of the most positive choices the Prime Minister has made to date,” he said.

One of Carmona’s brother, Dr Joseph Carmona, who had dropped in to see his parents, was also asked his view on his brother being selected to the highest office in the land. Though reluctant at first to share his thoughts, he quickly gave in saying, “the best of the best, he’s a people’s person, community person, TC is a mentor, he really cares about people, good choice,” he said.

On the main road in Fyzabad, news that “their home boy” Carmona had been selected to become the next President of the Republic was greeted first with shock, and then with happiness. One businessman, Elvis Villafana remarked, “It’s a good selection. He’s a reputable person, I’ve known him for a number of years. He’s a courteous man. No one has anything bad to say about him. It’s really a good choice,” he said.

A resident from nearby Avocat told Newsday, “We are honoured, I feel elated, proud to be a son of Fyzabad, You sure is TC? Our TC is the President ? You could talk to him anytime. He’s a good man,” he said with a smile.

Carol Ramroop who works at the bakery on the Main Road exclaimed, “Well at least people could say something good come out of Fyzabad now. It’s really a good thing for the area. I am proud of him,” she said. Carmona was born in Los Charos, Palo Seco, on March 7, 1953. The house he grew up in has since been rebuilt. When he was five, the family moved to Dally’s Village, Santa Flora, as his father was working with the then Trinidad Petroleum Development (TPD) oil company. They would continue to live there while Carmona attended the Santa Flora Governmet Primary School. He passed the Common Entrance examination from there to attend Presentation College in San Fernando, and a few years later the family moved to their Crest Camp home in Fyzabad where Carmona’s parents live.

So with Barbara’s dress already in hand for the inauguration of her first born as the new President of the Republic, all that’s left is for the date to be set for the grand occasion.

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