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George Maxwell Richards

George Maxwell Richards 
TCCMTPhD
President of Trinidad and TobagoIncumbentAssumed office 
17 March2003Prime Minister Patrick ManningPreceded by Arthur RobinsonBorn 1931
San Fernando, Trinidad and TobagoSpouse Jean Ramjohn-RichardsAlma materQueen's Royal CollegeProfession Chemical EngineerReligion Anglican

George Maxwell Richards, TC, CMT (born 1931) is the fourth President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. A chemical engineer by training, Richards was Principal of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad in 1996. He previously worked for Shell Trinidad Ltd. before joining the University of the West Indies in 1965. He was sworn into office on March 17, 2003 for a five-year term. Richards is the first Head of State in the Anglophone Caribbean of Amerindian ancestry.

Max Richards, as he is generally known, was born in the town of San Fernando in south Trinidad. He received his primary education there before winning an exhibition (scholarship) to attend Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain. From 1950 to 1951 he worked for the United British Oilfields of Trinidad (precursor to Shell Trinidad Ltd.) at Point Fortin. He received a scholarship from them to study chemical engineering. Richards then attended the University of Manchester (UMIST) where he took a Bachelor's degree (1955) and a Master's degree (1957). He then obtained a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge (Pembroke).

Richards returned to Trinidad and worked for Shell Trinidad Ltd. from 1957 to 1965 before joining the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of the West Indies, eventually attainting the post of Professor of Chemical Engineering. From 1980 to 1985 Richards served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Principal of the University. He served as Acting Principal of the St. Augustine Campus from 1984 to 1985, and was confirmed in the position in 1985. Richards served as Principal through the turbulent period in 1988 then the government slashed the university's budget by 30% and instituted a cess on university students (effectively raising tuition from TT$120 to $3000 overnight). He managed to keep the university afloat through this difficult period and retired as Principal in 1996 although he continued to teach as Professor Emeritus until he was elected President. Richards has also served on the Boards of many Trinidad and Tobago companies including that of the state-owned oil company, Trintoc (now Petrotrin), the National Gas Company and the Trinidad Publishing Company.

Although the position of President is a primarily ceremonial one, Richards has been outspoken in his criticism of the upsurge of crime in Trinidad and Tobago. He is also well known for his involvement in Carnival.

Richards was re-elected to a second five-year term as President by the Electoral College on February 11, 2008. He was the only candidate, and the Electoral College met for only three minutes.[1]

In 1977, Richards received the Chaconia Medal of the National Order of the Trinity, Class 1 Gold (the Chaconia Medal, Gold) for his contributions to Trinidad and Tobago. He is married to the former Jean Ramjohn, an anaesthetist and cousin of former President Noor Hassanali. They have two children: a son, Mark, who is also a medical doctor, and a daughter, Maxine, who is a businesswoman.

References

  1. ^ Clint Chan, "Max’s 3-minute re-election", Trinidad & Tobago's Newsday, February 12, 2008.
Political offices Preceded by
Arthur Napoleon Raymond RobinsonPresident of Trinidad and Tobago
2003 – present Incumbent
v • d • ePresidents of Trinidad and TobagoEllis Clarke • Noor Hassanali • A. N. R. Robinson • George Maxwell Richards Categories: 1931 births | Alumni of Pembroke College, Cambridge | Alumni of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology | Living people | People associated with the University of the West Indies | Presidents of Trinidad and Tobago | University of the West Indies academics

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