San Fernando mourns again as Torrance Mohammed dies

Torrance Mohammed - Yvonne Webb
Torrance Mohammed - Yvonne Webb

SAN Fernando was plunged into mourning for a second time on Tuesday as word spread that cultural icon Torrance Mohammed had died.

Mohammed, 90, was injured in a brutal attack on Monday. He was robbed and beaten while he waited to deliver some home-grown pommeracs to a friend at Torrance Street, Mon Repos.

Mohammed was the second cultural figure to die on Tuesday, hours after Lennox “Bobby” Mohammed, the youngest arranger to win a national Panorama competition, died at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH) from natural causes.

Torrance Mohammed, a former People’s National Movement (PNM) councillor and deputy mayor of the city corporation, died on Tuesday evening. without regaining consciousness, at the SFGH, where he was warded in the ICU.

Friends of his took to Facebook to appeal to residents of Torrance Street with security cameras to search, for footage of a bald-headed man wearing a blue jersey and three-quarter pants who, around 2.30 pm on Monday, grabbed the gold chain from his neck and then assaulted him.

San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, in an immediate reaction, said he was saddened by the news. He told Newsday on Tuesday that he was told had Mohammed lived, he would have been in a vegetative state.

He said Mohammed, a former dancer, was kicked after being pushed to the ground, causing injuries to his legs.

He lamented the state of crime and such brutality against a frail, elderly man.

He said Mohammed would be remembered for "his sterling contribution in sphere of the arts. He was a choreographer, who started when the late Anglican rector Canon Max Farquhar summoned Beryl McBurnie to San Fernando to initiate a dance group. Torrance, a young man at the time, came to learn and there started his long and illustrious career.

“In the late 1950s together with Joyce Kirton and others, they formed the Arawaks Dance Troupe, which some would say became the bedrock for folk and modern dance in the city.

“Torrance was a cultural activist, foundation member of the Creative Arts Centre, pillar of San Fest, Best Village Judge, councillor and deputy mayor of our city."

He said to corporation joined the arts fraternity to mourn his loss and remember him for "his tutoring, moulding and shaping of the dance landscape in San Fernando.

“On behalf of the San Fernando City Corporation, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family in their moment of grief and pray that he rests in eternal peace.”

Last month, the corporation approved naming of the street leading from Independence Avenue to the Naparima Bowl in honour of Mohammed.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell said it took a truly evil person to violently attack a senior citizen, and icon like Torrance Mohammed.

MP for San Fernando East Brian Manning also took to FB to pay tribute on behalf of his constituency..

“It is with a heavy heart that we must now say goodbye to yet another cultural icon of south," he wrote.

He described Mohammed as "a master of dance and one who was loved and respected by all."

“We are all heartbroken by this but we have with us many memories of your unmatched talent, your love for culture and the arts, your love for south Trinidad, your wisdom, your generosity and kindness to all.

“You are indeed a hero and we will honour your memory.”


"San Fernando mourns again as Torrance Mohammed dies"

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