Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell has hailed businessman Fred Chin Lee, who died on Sunday, for his contribution to the development of tourism in TT.
Chin Lee, who was the uncle of Tourism Trinidad Ltd chairman Howard Chin Lee, passed away at St Clair Medical Centre. He was 84. He owned the Normandie Hotel and Conference Centre in St Ann’s where he hosted Under the Trees – a popular Carnival showcase which starred renowned artistes among them calypsonians Sparrow and David Rudder.
In his tribute on Tuesday, Mitchell said, “He also provided a platform for many calypsonians, panmen and other artistes, who performed to appreciative audiences, including international guests at his hotel.”
He also commended Chin Lee’s stewardship as president of the TT Hotel Association, and extended condolences to the Chin Lee family on behalf of the ministry.
National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters said Chin Lee’s death was a “great personal loss.”
“It's one if the saddest moments for me because Mr Chin Lee was a father to me and was a person I could rely on for anything, whether it was financial or by way of advice. He was the kind of person who loved people,” Peters told Newsday. “I know that he loved me because he has been around me for years and I have been around him for years. He was a great man, and this is a great loss to TT.
Entertainment consultant David Cuffy worked closely with Chin Lee for decades and told Newsday his association with him started in the mid-1990s.
“Over the years we developed a respectful working relationship – one of mutual understanding and respect. Despite his penchant for having his way, most of the time, we always managed to come to amicable understandings.
“I had the pleasure of assisting him in developing Under The Tress into a most sought after entertainment space that showcased the talents of the established, as well as upcoming, local artistes of TT. My one regret is that he did not live to see his dream of a Caribbean Music Festival come to fruition.”
On his Facebook page, Rudder stated: “Farewell to my close friend and confidant Mr Fred Chin Lee. What a life. Thank you.”
Entertainer Joey Ng Wai, leader of Imij & Co, also posted on social media: “Thirty years ago John Gonsalves and my dad wanted to launch Second Imij, Mr Fred Chin Lee opened his hotel to our band, and we made the Normandie Hotel our base. Rest in Peace Mr Chin Lee. Thank you for your support.”
Chin Lee’s daughter, Donna, yesterday expressed surprised at how much of a loss her father’s death was to the wider community which she said touched the family.
All she would say about her father was: “What he did in his life is what mattered most.”
Chin Lee’s funeral takes place tomorrow at 10.30 am, at Assumption Church, Maraval.
The family has asked that, in lieu of wreaths, cash donations be made to Spiritan House, a mission of the Holy Ghost Fathers.