The Tobago Information and Technology Ltd's (TITL's) innovation centre is to be renamed the Dr John Prince Innovation Centre as a lasting tribute to the late former CEO of the Telecommunications Authority of TT (TATT).
TITL chairman Gerald McFarlane made the announcement on Wednesday as he paid tribute to Prince during his funeral service at the Canaan Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Friendship Ext, Canaan.
"I will take the necessary steps as present chairman of the board to rename that innovation centre and call it the Dr John Prince Innovation Centre as testimony if that is all we can do to show appreciation for this man and what he has done. And he has done some of the work selflessly," he said to loud applause from mourners.
McFarlane praised Prince's pioneering work in the TITL, which was established in Signal Hill as a special purpose company of the Tobago House of Assembly several years ago. The TITL's aim is to provide quality service through ICT while promoting growth and efficiency in the sector.
McFarlane, who regarded the innovation centre as one of the TITL's success stories, said Prince was a repository of knowledge.
"I can tell you and other members if the board who are here that every board meeting that John Prince attended, you learnt something from him," he said, adding Prince often used the vernacular to bring across his points.
Prince, 70, who had a long and illustrious career in the public service, died on January 8 after an illness.
His funeral service on Wednesday in Tobago came after another farewell ceremony on Monday at the SDA Church, Stanmore Avenue, Port of Spain.
In his tribute, McFarlane, a former Assemblyman, described Prince as "a giant of a man" and a mentor, who contributed immensely to the development of Tobago.
He recalled his association with Prince began at Roxborough Secondary, where he taught Art, History and Language.
Mc Farlane said Prince was among a group of teachers who were extremely dedicated, loving and hardworking.
"You would never find John in the staff room. He was always engaging the students."
Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance and the Economy Joel Jack, in his tribute, also recognised Prince as one of the island's gems.
"Dr Prince is a true son of the soil who represents the best of what Tobago has to offer," he said.
Saying Prince was a personal friend of his father, Jack said he grew up calling him "Uncle John" as a mark of respect.
He recalled when he entered public life as Secretary of Finance in 2013, Prince was a tremendous source of encouragement, love, support and advice.
Jack said they shared many important conversations which assisted him in crafting some of the policy initiatives he still champions today in the THA.
He said one such initiative is the ongoing effort to make Tobago an intelligent island.
"He was always referencing the Estonia model and what we could do here in Tobago. Some of his stories and his encouragement helped to shape and define the policy initiatives of the Assembly to make Tobago an intelligent island.
"This is where we seek to leverage the use of ICT to assist in addressing a number of socio-economic issues and challenges such as crime and security, tourism and other sectors."
Jack said the work of the committee on internal self-government, which Prince chaired, several years ago, benefited tremendously from his international experience, while based in Geneva.
"As I am now in the process of trying to lead the island, one thing I wish to commit to is to do everything in my power to ensure the safe passage of the bill as a legacy of Uncle John in recognition of the hard work of Dr John Val Prince."