“HONESTY, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life” – Nelson Mandela from his book Conversations with Myself.
This quote aptly describes a son and daughter of Arima who passed a day apart from each other, Priscilla Mary Trotman (died March 17, age 62) and Maxie Andrew Assee (died March 18, age 96).
Maxie, as he was fondly called by Arimians, was described by Brian Brooks, former principal of Arima Boys’ RC Primary School, in his eulogy as a “son, father, husband, uncle, friend, entrepreneur, footballer, cricketer and coach in each field, jockey, groom, boxing coach, pioneer, comedian, Carnival bandleader and masquerader and much more.”
Accolades on Mary were almost similar as echoed by her cousin Beverly Trotman, who said Mary lived a life in three categories – food, service and sports.
While Maxie was known as the Chinese man riding his bike throughout Arima, Mary was described as “the godmother” at Pinto and Maturita Villages.
Both had unique similarities as far as service to the people was concerned. Maxie was known as a keen sportsman, having been involved in almost all sporting activities in his day and as a mentor to the students at Arima Boy’s RC.
Mary, on the other hand, was chaperon to the youths in the Pinto/Maturita areas, having worked her way up the ladder in the community, from being a foundation member of the Maturita Youth Group to the People’s National Movement (PNM) councillor for the Santa Rosa/Blanchisseuse electoral district in the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation for seven years.
Maxie did not enter the political arena, but was highly respected by the elected members of the Arima Borough Council from both political parties, having been honoured by the council at the borough’s annual celebration, the Arima Community Welfare Council and several other organisations including the Arima Race Club. He was honoured when a street in Malabar Phase Four was named after him.
Mary’s residence on Pinto Road was a virtual home to hundreds of youths in the area, especially cricketers and footballers who always went to her house after games to enjoy her delicious cooking, because she was known for her “sweet hand.” Due to her keen interest in sport with the youngsters in the area, her son, the late Mickey Trotman, went on to represent TT in football.
Mickey and his brother Stephen died tragically in a vehicular accident on Pinto Road 20 years ago.
Undaunted by the tragic loss of her two sons, Mary’s continued involvement in sports saw her daughter Oire representing TT in hockey.
Maxie’s family, on the other hand, which consists of the Edwards family, also made a significant contribution to community and sports in Arima and the country as a whole.
His eldest niece, Hyacinth, played netball for TT, while nephew Elvin represented the national under-21 cricket team against Australia, and his (Elvin’s) son also played for the national under-19 football team.
Elvin went on to be mayor of Arima for seven years and spoke of the influence his uncle, Maxie, had in moulding him to be an all-rounder in politics and sport.
Maxie’s other nephews featured as regular players for clubs in Arima in football and cricket.
At Pinto, the sports facility is named after Mary’s son – Mickey Trotman Recreation Ground.
As a representative, Mary was known to serve with such humility that she was available to her constituents 7-11. She became a household name because she attended to issues in her district in a timely manner, and responded to numerous emergency calls from residents.
Another significant feature in Mary’s activities was the tremendous support she received from her family, especially sisters Joan and Llwellyn.
At her funeral service glowing tributes were paid to Mary from home and abroad, including from the Member of Parliament for Arima, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson.
For Maxie, Beckles-Robinson was joined by the MP for D’Abadie/O’Meara, Lisa Morris-Julian and Arima Mayor Cagney Cassimere in paying tribute to the pint-sized Arimian.
As testimony to Maxie’s popularity, Fr Dwight Black, who officiated at the funeral and who hails from Tobago, confessed that he never met Maxie, but saw him on many occasions riding his bike in Arima.
The deaths of Maxie and Mary saw an outpouring of love and appreciation to two outstanding Arimians who dedicated their lives to the promotion and development of young people, and to the entire community of Arima. These unlettered heroes were sterling examples of human decency, working for the good of their community out of love, and not for financial reward.
The calls for improved and better sporting facilities for Arima and environs grow louder as we pay our respects to these two outstanding Arimians, and honour their selflessness. Now is an appropriate time to consider the need for an indoor sporting complex, improved facilities at the Municipal Stadium (velodrome), upgrading of the cricket field at the Larry Gomes enclosure, and recognition of the outstanding achievements of Arima sports personalities, especially as many youths are being led astray and have limited access to facilities where they can channel their energies.
Knowing and honouring those who paved the way is the hallmark of a civilised society. It is regrettable therefore that there was a deafening silence from the Ministry of Sports on the deaths of former Arimians and national sports personalities Prince Bartholomew, Sheldon Gomes (cricket), Dr Cliff Bertrand and Winston Shortt (track and field), all of whom died within recent times.
Also being discussed is the perception that, perhaps deliberately, Arimians are not featured on the national awards list, for reasons unknown. After all, it took 27 years to recognise and honour the heroic actions of Jones P Madeira during 1990’s attempted coup, such that he would eventually receive the Chaconia Gold Medal in 2017 under Prime Minister Dr Rowley.
Maxie Assee and Mary Trotman, all Arimians salute you for your service and loyalty.
To their respective families: rest assured that their names are engraved for eternity in the history of Arima, the only royal chartered borough in the western hemisphere.
Gens d’Arime (People of Arima) rest in peace.
Ashton Ford is a former mayor and MP of Arima