Ellis ClarkeSir Ellis Emmanuel Innocent Clarke
1st President of Trinidad and TobagoIn office
1 August1976 – 13 March1987Succeeded by Michael J. Williams(acting) Born December 28, 1917(1917-12-28) (age 90)
Belmont, Trinidad and TobagoNationality Trinidad and Tobago Spouse Ermyntrude Hagley Religion Roman Catholic
Sir Ellis Emmanuel Innocent Clarke, TC, GCMG (born December 28, 1917) was the second and last Governor-General of Trinidad and Tobago and the first President of Trinidad and Tobago. Clarke was one of the main architects of Trinidad and Tobago's 1962 Independence constitution.
Clarke attended Saint Mary's College, winning an Island Scholarship in Mathematics in 1938. Ellis Clarke attended University College London of the University of London where he received a Bachelor of Law degree and was called to the bar at Gray's Inn. He returned to Port of Spain in 1941, taking up private practice there.
He served as Solicitor-General from 1954–1956, Deputy Colonial Secretary 1956–1957, and Attorney General 1957–1962. After Independence in 1962 he served as Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
In 1972 he succeeded Sir Solomon Hochoy as Governor General. When Trinidad and Tobago became a Republic in 1976, Clarke was unanimously elected the country's first President by the presidential electoral college, which comprised the elected members of both Houses of Parliament. He was re-elected by the PNM-controlled electoral college and completed his second term in 1987. Disagreements with the new National Alliance for Reconstruction government resulted in Clarke's decision not to seek a third term. He was succeeded by Noor Hassanali.
Ellis Clarke was invested as a Companion of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II in 1960 and was awarded a knighthood as a Knight Grand Cross of that Order in 1972. Although he ceased to use the title Sir after the country became a republic, since retirement from the presidency he has re-adopted his title and has generally been referred to as 'Former President, Sir Ellis Clarke' or Sir Ellis.
He was married to Lady Ermyntrude Clarke (1921–2002) for almost fifty years. They had three children: Peter Clarke (married to Suzanne Traboulay, a former beauty queen), Margaret-Ann (married to Gordon Fisken of Edinburgh, Scotland) and Richard (who died as a young child). Sir Ellis also has four grandsons: John Peter, Michael, who is an expert tennis player at Saddlebrook in Tampa, Florida, Alexander and David, and one granddaughter, Katrina.
Ellis Clarke was one of six experts worldwide asked to submit reports to Australia's Republic Advisory Committee in 1993 detailing his country's experience in moving from a constitutional monarchy to a republic.
Clarke remains active and is still influential in dispute resolution, matters of the law (especially constitutional issues) and diplomatic conflicts. He is currently leading the country's efforts at constitutional reform and is a very favourable public figure being viewed on occasion as a 'grandfather' for the nation.Political offices Preceded by
Sir Solomon HochoyGovernor-General of Trinidad and Tobago
1973–1976 Succeeded by
— Preceded by
— President of Trinidad and Tobago
1976–1986 Succeeded by
- Biography. Nalis, the National Library and Information Service of Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved on 2006-12-13.