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‘Giant of the old school’

By Darcel Choy Sunday, February 2 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Cathy Hudson-Phillips, the wife of the late Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips QC and daughter Sarah pray during the funeral service for the late Karl Terr...
Cathy Hudson-Phillips, the wife of the late Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips QC and daughter Sarah pray during the funeral service for the late Karl Terr...

A “giant of the old school.” That was the description applied to Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips, 80, QC, who was yesterday laid to rest following a funeral service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain.

Hudson-Phillips died peacefully in his sleep in London on January 16. He was distinguished as a former Attorney General, a former judge of the International Criminal Court, politician and legal luminary.

At his funeral service, those who paid tribute and shared their memories of Hudson-Phillips, were brought to tears, including the usually composed Reginald Dumas.

Dumas, retired head of the public service, paused a few times, at the end of his eulogy, as he told the large congregation that, “Hudson” as he called him, was not only his friend. He said part of him was gone and was not coming back.

Dumas said he knew Hudson-Phillips for 65 years, beginning as classmates at Queen’s Royal College, Port-of-Spain. He said his friend had a multi-dimensional personality. He played the piano and he played mas. He was a lover of music who was equally comfortable with listening to Miles Davis, Chopin or Sparrow. Dumas said Hudson-Phillips could conjure up a “mean pepper sauce” that would put anyone out of business.

To many, Dumas said, Hudson-Phillips seemed aloft but he was charming. He had a flair and panache and he was perceived as ruthless.

He recalled an instance when Hudson-Phillips wrote to then Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams to take action against a minister who flouted the law of gaming of cocks. Dumas described Hudson-Phillips as a fearless man which made him a threat. Even in his passing, the venom persisted, noted Dumas.

Hudson-Phillips’ three children, Jennifer, Sarah and Kevin all remembered their father as someone who taught them things that will forever stay with them.

Jennifer, the eldest, said her mind was numb as she was reluctant to reminisce about her father, who she called her renaissance man. She said he lived his life fully, purposefully and passionately. She thanked all those who paid tribute since her father’s passing, saying it was truly overwhelming and filled hers and her siblings’ hearts with pride.

Sarah shared the last email she received from her father in December 2013. He told her that thus far she has done brilliantly and although she stumbled, she took it in stride, better than he did in his time. He told her not to forget to have fun, but to work her “butt off”.

“Dad, you’ve taught us to always stay true to ourselves and never sacrifice our moral values. “There will not be another man like him in my life, the shoes are too big to fill and I am proud to ever call you my father,” she said.

Kevin, also received an email from his father, that day in December last, where Hudson-Phillips told his son to start planning now for where he wanted to be in ten years.

“You gave me guidance and directions. I am the man I am today because of you,” Kevin said of his father.

Bishop Clive Abdulah in his homily said a lot of people in society have lost hope, that they get depressed and commit suicide because there is no hope in leaders, in the church and the state, that all the hope was lost.

Many dignitaries and Cabinet ministers gathered at the church to pay their respects. Those in attendance included President Anthony Carmona, Acting Prime Minister Prakash Ramadhar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Speaker of the House Wade Mark, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and businessman Issa Nicholas.

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