2001 Hall of Fame Inductees


Dr. Bert Achong won the prestigious Jerningham Gold Medal in 1946 and studied medicine at University College, Dublin. He trained as a clinical pathologist at London’s Lambeth Hospital, and joined Virologist Sir Anthony Epstein’s team to study viruses associated with cancer. In 1964, the team discovered the first human tumour virus, known as the Epstein-Barr virus which has come to assume great significance in the treatment of cancer (oncology), tumour virology and immunology. Dr. Achong was renowned in electron microscopy and co-authored several books on the Epstein-Barrvirus. In 1971, he discovered the “foamy virus”, a member of the retrovirus family. He taught a Cellular Pathology BSc course, from which many scientists entered careers in research. He was a Foundation Fellow of the pathology faculty of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a fellow of Britain’s Royal College of Pathology. He was awarded both the Doctorate in Science (DSc) and the Doctorate in Medicine by the National University of Ireland and is one of a select group of Trinidadians so distinguished. He was born December 6, 1928 and died November 20, 1996.


Dr. Harry Collymore qualified as an orthopedic and plastic surgeon in 1951. After leaving St. Mary’s he studied at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, London. He was a man of varied experience, having worked at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) at St. Augustine as an Analyst and the Pathological Laboratory in Port of Spain. He then joined Air Training Scheme in Canada and migrated to England as a Navigator. He later established the Langmore Health Foundation, an orthopedic and plastic surgery clinic operated primarily for the benefit of poor people. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (1964) the Cheshire Foundation Home for the Sick (1967) and the Trinidad and Tobago Paraplegic Association (1968). He was involved in the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai’s, the T&T Medical Association and the Rotary Club of Pointe-a-Pierre. He has received many awards for outstanding service in medicine and the community, including the Humming Bird Medal Gold in 1972 and the Trinity Cross in 2000. He was born in January 1918 and died February 2001.


His peers in the medical field described Dr. Dolly as “a man of kindness and dignity worthy of emulation.” No doubt this was due to the deep concern he always had for the health and welfare of his patients. After graduating from St. Mary’s, he went to London to study medicine and qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, a Licentiate of the College of Physicians and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Health. On his return to Trinidad, he served as a Medical Officer in San Fernando, Port of Spain and Tobago before joining Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd., where he retired as Chief Medical Officer. He made an invaluable contribution to medicine as a General Practitioner and also in the field of Obstetrics and General Surgery. He served on the Board of Texaco Incorporated, was President of the T&T Medical Association, Chairman of the Mental Health Association, a member of the Red Cross Society and founding member of the Rotary Club of San Fernando. Many sportsmen (soccer, cricket and track and field) benefited from his assistance and interest in sports. He was awarded the Chaconia Medal Gold for his contributions in the field of medicine. He was born on July 23, 1909 and died January 6, 1999.


Mr. Hamel-Smith was called to the Bar in 1909. He was a Solicitor, a Conveyancer and Notary Public and immediately upon qualifying as a Solicitor, he started his own firm. He overcame many social pressures to make a significant career for himself, by dint of personal virtues such as integrity, generosity and a creative approach to business. The law firm which he founded in 1909, M. Hamel-Smith & Co. Ltd., withstood the many challenges it faced during World War I and has survived to be one of the leading firms in the Caribbean today. He was a member of the Council of the Incorporated Law Society of Trinidad and Tobago on which he served as Vice-President for many years. He took a leading part in the struggle for Catholic Training Colleges for Teachers and their establishment is due in part to his efforts. He was devoted to his alma mater, and his interest in every phase of college life continued long after he left college. He was, until his death, a member of the Provisional Committee of the Past Students Union which benefited from his organisational skills. He was born on December 6, 1883 and died on November 2, 1933.


Professor Karmody is currently the Head of Ear, Nose and Throat Department at Tufts University, School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. He first attended Naparima College in San Fernando, then transferred to St. Mary’s. He did his under-graduate studies in Dublin, Ireland where he won a Gold Medal. On graduating, he went to London where he achieved his fellowship and specialised in Ear, Nose and Throat medicine. He has gained considerable recognition in the United States for his research at Tufts University and at Harvard University. He has also proven to be a skilled surgeon and in 1989 was responsible for the first ever “bionic’ ear operation on a profoundly deaf patient in New England. This procedure was a cochlea implant, which restored hearing nerve fibres. He is currently an external examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, London. In 1999, the title of Professor Emeritus was bestowed on him by Tufts University in recognition of thirty years of dedicated and outstanding service in the field of medicine.


Dr. Marcano won an Island Scholarship at St. Mary’s College in 1918 and proceeded to London University where he graduated as MRCS and LRCP in 1924; MB and BS in 1926; DPH and MD with Distinction in 1931; and MRCP in 1932. He did postgraduate studies at various hospitals in London, particularly with respect to ear, nose and throat and ophthalmic studies, as well as Public Health. He engaged in private practice up to 1937 when he was appointed Medical Officer of Health, Port of Spain. In spite of his academic and professsional brilliance, he remained a humble man, committed to helping his fellowman, often at great sacrifice to himself. He held office in many organisations including President of Trinidad Legion, President - Child Welfare League, Vice-President of the Medical Board of T&T, Vice-President of the Trinidad Amateur Athletic Association, Representative of the Council of Trinidad Legion British Empire Service League, The Boxing Board of Control, Sports Stadium Committee, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Tuberculosis Association, Opticians Board, Slum Clearance Committee and the Probation Board. He served with the Caribbean Forces during the 2nd World War as Medical Officer and as a Major. Dr. Marcano was awarded the OBE for meritorious military services and the Trinity Cross for distinguished service to Trinidad & Tobago. He was the President of the St. Mary’s College Past Students’ Union from 1950 to 1953.


J. Hamilton Maurice has had significant impact on the education system of this country, both through his quality teaching and his administrative skills. After completing his education at St. Mary’s, he became one of the first local students to obtain an external degree, from London University. Having secured his B.A. in education, he took over a private secondary school which his father ran in San Fernando. In 1920 he transferred his students to Naparima College and assumed the position of Assistant Master there. Some years later, he was appointed Assistant Lecturer at the Government Training College for Teachers. He was Assistant Inspector of Schools (Trinidad) in 1938 and Inspector of Schools (Tobago) in 1941. While in Tobago, he received a British Council scholarship towards a Diploma in Education, in London. On his return from England, he served as Director of Education in Dominica from 1947 to 1955. He returned to Trinidad as a Master at Naparima College. He went on to train teachers at the Naparima Teachers College and at the Emergency Training College for Teachers. As the Associate Editor at the Port of Spain Gazette and the Chronicle, he made valuable contributions to the field of journalism. In 1956 he became part of a crucial nucleus which created the People’s National Movement under Dr. Williams. He was appointed the first President of the Senate, a position he held from 1961 to 1971. As a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee, he was required to visit many Commonwealth Parliaments. In his last official role as Chairman of the Maurice Commission on Education, he produced a Report which made critical recommendations for education at primary, secondary and university levels in this country. In 1972, he was a member of the Constitution Reform Commission. He was decorated with the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953 and later the Trinity Cross. He was born on August 14, 1899 and died July 23, 1988.


Archbishop Pantin chose as his episcopal motto, “Omni Omnibus” — all things to all men. At his death, Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston, said ‘the ease and openness with which he dealt with everyone, gave eloquent testimony to the fact that that was not just a motto, but the very model upon which he based his episcopal ministry”. After graduating from St. Mary’s in 1946, Anthony Pantin joined the Holy Ghost Congregation and while studying for the priesthood, he taught at St. Mary’s for three years. He was ordained as a priest in 1956 and was assigned to the island of Guadeloupe. He was appointed Superior of the Holy Ghost congregation at St. Mary’s in 1965 and three years later, created history when he was ordained as the first local Archbishop of Port of Spain. Paying tribute to him at his death, President Robinson said, “under the late Archbishop, the Church has come to be seen as more sensitive to the needs of society and more in keeping with the aspirations of our nation, which as declared in our Constitution, is founded under God”. He shared his wisdom and guidance with many organisations including the Caribbean Conference of Churches and the Inter-Religious Organisation of which he was a founding member and President for a number of years. He was well known for his commitment to Caribbean ecumenism. In times of national crisis, he could be counted on to minister to the populace at large, two notable occasions being the disturbances in 1970 and 1990. In the year 2000, he was awarded the Trinity Cross for his loving service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. His life can be appropriately summed up by quoting from the condolence message sent to the Archdiocese by Pope John Paul II: “What he brought to his people as Pastor was love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. He was born on August 27, 1929 and died March 12, 2000.


Theo Poon King won a House Scholarship in 1942. He won an Island Scholarship (first in his Group) in 1946 and 1947. (He was deprived of the Scholarship in 1946 because of the then newly established criterion that he did not obtain a Distinction in one of the subjects he took.) In 1947, he established a new high for total marks in the Modern Literary Group, with his examination subjects being Greek, Latin, French and Greek and Roman History. He studied at University College, Dublin and St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin where he graduated with First Class Honours at the top of the class and with three Gold Medals in Medicine and Surgery in 1953. In 1955 he attained the BSc (Honours) in Pathology and Physiology. He was Specialist Physician at the San Fernando General Hospital from 1958-1998 and Head, Streptococcal Disease Unit there for over 34 years. He did post-graduate work in Cardiology at Harvard. In 2000, he was honoured as the Medical Researcher of the Century in Trinidad, for his significant contributions to medical research for over 40 years, in areas such as mycocarditis from scorpion stings, diabetes, streptococci and acute rheumatic fever. His other areas of research include coronary heart disease, yellow fever and paraquat poisoning. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and several other professional societies. The National University of Ireland conferred a Doctorate in Medicine on him in 1972 and three years later, he was awarded the Chaconia Medal, Gold for his contribution to medicine. In 1983, Pope John Paul Il awarded him the Papal Medal for services to medicine and the Church, and in 1955 the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council gave him an Award for ‘distinguished medical research in the Caribbean”.


Willie Rodrigues played first eleven cricket and football for St. Mary’s during his last four years at school. In those days, the Colleges played in the senior leagues against their elders. He made his debut on the senior Trinidad cricket team in his penultimate year at St. Mary’s and after a break of a few years, represented Trinidad from 1957 to 1970. He captained Trinidad from 1960 to 1967. He gained selection to the West Indies team in 1958 to tour India and Pakistan. He played in the home series against India in 1962 and in England in the 1963 Test series. He was the first bowler to reach the 50 wicket mark in regional Shell Shield cricket and still holds the record for the lowest runs per wicket, for bowlers with more than 50 wickets in regional cricket. He later became a cricket administrator, being a selector and manager of the Trinidad cricket team. He was the manager of the West Indies team to Australia and New Zealand in 1979-1980, the first West Indies team to win a series in Australia. During his top cricketing years, he continued to star at football until he left the game in 1960 because of injury. He was a fixture on both North and Trinidad football teams and it was no surprise when he was selected on the West Indies football team in 1958. He has the signal honour of being the only individual who has represented the West Indies at both football and cricket. Up to the late 1970’s, he was a valuable part of the St. Mary’s coaching staff. He is the President of Queen’s Park Cricket Club and was awarded the Humming Bird Medal, Silver in 1995. He was born on 25th June 1934.