It is with deep sadness that I pay respect to the late war hero, judge and diplomat, Justice Ulric Cross.
Justice Cross was an exemplar, a man who pursued and achieved his goals. He was a shining example to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. He lived his life to the fullest and even after his retirement from public life, he was there to assist many who needed his help.
If there was one national of this country who made his mark internationally, it was Justice Cross.
From a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot in England, to Attorney General of the Cameroon, to a Judge in Tanzania, to High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
That was the man Justice Ulric Cross. He was a man of all seasons and he will be remembered.
Justice Cross, at age 24, signed up with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in England to be a pilot during the height of World War II.
That is where he made his mark. He attained the rank of Squadron Leader. He was the only West Indian in his squadron.
In June 1944, Justice Cross, who was fondly called the Black Hornet, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and in January 1945, he received the Distinguished Service Order, both in recognition of his “fine example of keenness and devotion to duty” and “exceptional navigational ability”.
After he was released from the RAF, Justice Cross remained in England and studied law. He later served as Attorney General of the Cameroon and a Judge in Tanzania before he was appointed a High Court Judge in Trinidad in 1974.
Five years later, he was sitting in the Court of Appeal. From what I have been told, and from the judgments I have read, Justice Cross was an excellent judge. Some of his judgments changed the landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.
After his retirement from the Bench, Justice Cross was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and other European countries from 1990 to 1993.
After his retirement from public life, Justice Cross established charities to assist the less fortunate in society. Many persons called on him for advice in some way or the other.
I was present at Piarco in June 2011 when the Air Guard Station was renamed the Ulric Cross Air Station. Two months later, at the Independence Day Awards ceremony, Justice Cross was awarded this country’s highest award – the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad and Tobago has lost a true hero. On behalf of the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend sincere condolences to the family of this great patriot. May be rest in peace.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, MP
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
October 5, 2013