FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Re: Passing of John S. Donaldson, Jr.
The Attorney General wishes to express his deepest condolences on the passing of John S. Donaldson, Jr.
The deceased was a senior member of the current Opposition Party, the People’s National Movement and had a long and distinguished career in Public Service and in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago which cannot be ignored.
Mr. Donaldson Jr received his early education at Rosary R. C. and Tranquility Boys’ schools in Port of Spain, before going on to Osmond High School and St Mary’s College. At secondary school, he excelled as a student and in extra-curricular activities.
After graduating from St Mary’s College, he enrolled at the University of British Columbia in Canada, where he obtained a B.A. in Economics and an LL.B. Always a stickler for improving one’s academic qualifications, he led by example, in that he subsequently successfully read for a degree in Legal Education as well.
His fruitful academic pursuits served him well in the several roles he was called upon to play from time to time. Apart from being a public servant, he was a diplomat, a Senator, a Member of the House of Representatives and a Minister of Government.
His outstanding career in foreign affairs evolved from being a middle management public servant, to his appointment as our Ambassador to several African countries— Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Liberia—and peaked on September 22nd 1976 with his elevation to the Senate, when he was chosen by our nation’s first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, to serve in his Cabinet as the Minister of External Affairs.
In the 1981 elections, he successfully contested the Port of Spain North seat on a PNM ticket and was appointed Minister of National Security on 27th November, 1981 following the PNM’s victory. He remained in the post until March 1st 1985, when then Prime Minister George Chambers reassigned him to be the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Co-operatives.
Subsequent to his Ministerial career, he held several prestigious posts in the regional and international diplomatic circuit. Between 1991 and 1995, he was Chairman of the Security Council of the Organisation of the American States. He would later serve on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, where, at different intervals, he served as member, Vice Chairman and Chairman. Up to 2010 he was Ambassador Extraordinaire and Inspector of Missions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Donaldson is but yet another example of someone from the legal profession who sacrificed what would have undoubtedly been a long and distinguished career in law for Public Service.
In his private practice, he provided pro bono legal advice and assistance to many a citizen who could not afford legal representation.
This, of course, is a quality which the Attorney General personally treasures as his own legal career was based on similar principles. It is a pattern that is worthy of emulation and a career worthy of commendation and celebration.
He completed his legal studies alongside his daughter Joye who has been elevated to the exalted office of Solicitor General of Trinidad and Tobago.
There’s no question Mr. Donaldson’s dedication and his contribution to the governance of our nation from its formative years and throughout have left an indelible mark on our national landscape. The Attorney General and the staff of the Ministry of the Attorney General wish to pay unstinted tribute today to Mr. John S. Donaldson’s inimitable contribution. It is hoped that all citizens strive to emulate what he has accomplished in his sojourn on earth.
To his widow, Marjorie, daughter, Eleanor Joye and the rest of his bereaved, the Attorney General extends deepest sympathies on his behalf and on behalf of the entire Ministry of the Attorney General.
ANAND RAMLOGAN, S.C.,
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
AND TITULAR HEAD OF THE BAR.
WEDNESDAY 20TH MARCH, 2013.