A Personal Tribute to Dr. Cliff Bertrand

By Kazim Abasali 2nd December, 2020

Dr. Clifton “Cliff” Bertrand was born in Arima on the 2nd of March, 1936.

Cliff’s father, Mr. Cummebatch was a wardsman at the Arima Hospital.

His mother, Virginia Bertrand was a hairdresser.

Younger Virginia Bertrand, and at a mature age

His grandmother, Philomena Maude-Bertrand was better known as Ma Maude in the Arima community.

Grandma Maude was a huge part of Cliff’s early childhood upbringing. As well as Barbara Bertrand-Ince’s childhood upbringing.

Barbara Bertrand-Ince

Cliff considered Barbara, his first cousin, as his younger sister and referred to her as “My little sister”.

Cliff even considered Barbara’s brothers and sister as his brothers and sisters – Annmarie (dec.), Keith, Marilyn Elizabeth -Atherton, Felix (dec.), Hollis (dec.), Wayne, Jerry, Maria, and Roger.

Barbara shared that Grandma Maude would often take Cliff and her to the countryside areas of Talparo and Lalaja in Blanchisseuse.

And Cliff would take Barbara, his little sister when he competed in races in Guaracara Park, south Trinidad. Barbara would then go on to compete in track and field also at Guaracara Park.

Cliff continued to inspire Barbara in other pursuits, notably netball.

excerpts from Barbara Bertrand-Ince growing-up years with Cliff.

Dr. Cliff Bertrand was a grassroots product of Arima Boys RC Primary School.

And Ideal and Progressive Educational Institute where he excelled at football representing the NFL. He competed at Track & Field.

He started his teaching career at Tunapuna Govt Secondary School at El Dorado Rd, Tunapuna teaching Science and Health. Mr. Alleyne was the Principal.

Cliff founded a netball team which won the T&T Secondary School Netball Championship. Lystra Lewis was the organizer from the Ministry of Education.

He developed a track and field team that won the Secondary School Championship for two (2) consecutive years in the Girls Division.

Cliff founded Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club in his home town of Arima, Trinidad.

In the USA, he coached Track & Field at Jamaica High School in Queens, NY, city champs, NYC Youth Games Track & Field Team, National Champs.

He coached Martin Luther King Jr. High School to ten consecutive Borough Soccer Championships.

Cliff was acclaimed Coach Of The Year by the PSAL – Public School Athletic League of New York City. He received the Mayor’s Citation of New York City for his contribution to sports.

Under the Abraham Beam Administration, he was the Head Coach of the NY City Youth Games Team Championship in Baltimore. He was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. award for his contribution to sports in NY State.

He was the first Caribbean athlete to be the head coach of a major institution at the NCAA Division 1 Level in Track & Field and Cross Country, NYU.

Cliff Bertrand University Education

Cliff did his undergraduate work at New York University. His graduate work at Brooklyn College, Yeshiva University of Social Sciences, NYU and Columbia University where he accumulated quite a vocabulary of experiences. He is an ABA certified law student, Queens College, Cuny.

Cliff Bertrand International Track Record

Cliff won a gold medal in 200 meters at the 1957 British West Indies Championships, and three gold medals at the 1958 British West Indies Championships.

He participated in three events at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, but did not reach the final in either. However, at the 1959 Pan American Games he finished fifth in the 200 metres and won a bronze with the British West Indian Federation 4 x 100 metres relay team.

His teammates were Michael Agostini, Wilton Jackson and Jamaican Dennis Johnson.

Cliff then competed at the 1960 Olympic Games, reaching the quarter-finals of the 200 metres. He also ran in the heats of the 4×400 metres relay for the British West Indian Federation team that would later, in the final, win a bronze medal.


Dr. Cliff Bertrand is fortunate to have been on both sides of the sporting and education divides. As a Trinidad & Tobago Olympian and a New York City Board of Education School Administrator.

My Personal Tribute to Dr. Cliff Bertrand

Cliff as he wanted to be called, said to me, “that is how people in Arima know me”. And he was adamant when we were writing his Bio together to have a very short description of himself. He above all wanted to show a humble version of himself.

Bio of Dr. Cliff Bertrand: https://arimacirc.wordpress.com/dr-cliff-bertrand/

Cliff Bertrand shared about his Arima home:
“Longden & Queen Street, Arima, straight up from the Dial bottom of the hill. I grew up there. This is where the roots are planted.”

To start from the beginning of our friendship, we met in Brooklyn, New York at a nightly event when our then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning was visiting New York and he was being hosted to meet and greet our Trinidad and Tobago citizens living there at the time.

It was at this meet and greet I met Dr. Cliff Bertrand. On meeting this Arima son of the soil, he immediately said to me “I know you before you were born”. And he could tell me some things about my family with which only a person from Arima would be familiar.

The name Cliff Bertrand is a household name in Arima. For he is greatly recognised for his athletic records and contribution to the sporting community in our home town.

However, Cliff was very close to another very close friend of mine who lived in New Jersey – Dave Lalla, another person from Arima. I knew Dave from Arima Boys’ Government School and Holy Cross College Arima.

Although Dave was older than I, Dave was well-known in our Holy Cross days as a keen footballer playing for our college team alongside the Gomes brothers – Sheldon, Gregory, and Larry.

So, in 2007, when I decided to organize a reunion for our foreign-based Holy Cross past students, Dave and a couple of other “Boys” including Sheldon Gomes (dec.) helped me host the event at Sheldon’s home in Long Island, New York.

For the reunion event, I decided to extend invitations to a few special guests. Fitzgerald “Lutch” Baboolal (dec.) a past Holy Cross College teacher and, Clinton Narine, a Consulate Officer who was attached to the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in New York at the time. Mr. Baboolal was our guest of honour for this reunion.

And Dave was the one who invited Cliff to the event as a way to inspire our “Boys”. And that he, Cliff did.

Cliff and I became friends after this event because everyone exchanged contact information.

Sheldon Gomes, Dave Lalla and Cliff Bertrand

Sometime soon after, Dave Lalla celebrated his 60th Birthday. He had a party inviting all his close friends and family. Cliff was part of the birthday celebrations.

For the event, I created and produced a Tribute Video with as much of Dave’s past and present photos as we could locate. Dave’s wife Marcia helped in the process.

At this birthday party, Cliff came with his camera and took lots of photos. After the party, Cliff mailed Dave and me a CD with all the photos he took at the function.

At this time, Cliff became more aware of my skillset: As an ardent facilitator for past students of our Holy Cross College and, Arima Boys’ Government School. And as an IT Consultant, Webmaster, and Social Media Manager. He now knew me as a person talented in the online world as well as an avid media artist in terms of working with photos and videos.

For two (2) long years, I sought to get Cliff to share his Sports Administration and Education Administration experience and wisdom by trying to convince him that I would facilitate him with a Website/Blog and Facebook Group Page free of charge.

Maybe it took that long because of his humility or, he felt challenged by the online world of Facebook and a web presence of his own. I cannot tell for sure.

But when he finally agreed to my personal weekly Skype tutoring, he came on board with gusto. He was a student willing to learn and did not feel intimated by all the nuances or subtleties involved in the technology. Because he had me as his constant guide to hold his hand throughout the process.

Cliff excelled in his dedication and soon developed his ability to post his own articles on his Website/Blog and Facebook Group Page I created for him.

Dr. Cliff Bertrand’s Caribbean and American Insights on Track & Field Sports, and Education Website/Blog: http://drcliffbertrand.blogspot.com/

Dr. Cliff Bertrand Caribbean and American Insights on Sports and Education Facebook Group Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Cliff-Bertrand-Caribbean-and-American-Insights-on-Sports-and-Education-1664318243857173/

At first, I did it for him, while showing the process, even editing and correcting his mistakes in his written articles. Then he was able to manage on his own after months of our weekly Skype meetings.

Not only was he able to share his experience and wisdom, but he soon realized how much more he loved writing. And started to turn out articles on other subjects of his interest.

Cliff was a lifelong learner. In our Skype Video chats, he would show me new books he had just bought and was reading. He would then inject some of his newfound philosophy into his writings.

Cliff learned to navigate the world of Facebook and the web. In the beginning, if he had any dilemmas, he would seek me out to help him sort it out. But that came fewer and fewer as time went on.

Eventually, Cliff was able to handle this part of the tech world as a master. He was always such a man with the ability to learn to do things himself. He valued his independence. And I believed anything he would put his mind to do, he would learn to do and even excel.

Our weekly Skype meetings turned into a very close friendship.

When I created the Arima Community Info Resource Centre Website/Blog and Facebook Group, my desire was to help document the history of Arima in any way I could with the support of others.

So I asked Cliff to share his knowledge of Arima’s past. He was a rich treasure in this regard and helped in areas of this undertaking. He explained to me the past Football Teams of Arima and who was mainly responsible. Persons such as “Slappy” Charles, and Maxi Assee, who was the owner and manager of “Cave Boys” an Arima sports club of old for which Maxi played cricket and football.

Cliff even shared about people who were instrumental in supporting him and his family when he was developing as an athlete in his young days. One such person he spoke about was Mr. Hollis “Ragoo” Bhopa, owner of Bhopa’s Bakery on Broadway St. Arima, who gave him bread every day free of charge.

Barbara, “his little sister” also shared that Cliff and herself would often go to Ma Ali on Sorzano St. to get their fill of roti for themselves and the family. Ma Ali would also school them in the fine art of roti-making.

He also shared about training in his novice days by running constantly north of Arima in the Lalaja Area up Blanchisseuse Rd.

ARIMA THROUGH THE EYES OF A RECENTLY DECEASED CENTENARIAN

And told of his early running days at the Arima Savannah when the Horse Racing Track was still in existence there. He knew the grass running track of the Savannah so well, he knew which bend to hug as he raced in his different races.

In my conversation with Dennis Hicks, he shared he grew up in the time of Cliff and ran as an athlete in the Abilene Wildcat Athletic Club. He knew Cliff very well. Dennis said that every Carnival, Cliff would seek out his (Dennis) older brother, Marcelle Hicks to go hunting in the forest.

Dennis Hicks

In my recent Bio of Percival “Percy” Cezair on the 28th of October, 2020, I wrote this excerpt of Cliff’s contribution to the sporting life in Arima.

Dr. Clifton “Cliff” Bertrand, one of Arima’s Olympic athletes, who was the founder of the Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club, was the person who proposed the idea of building the Arima Velodrome to Percy.

Cliff felt that apart from track and field, other sporting disciplines like cycling, tennis, netball and basketball were needed in Arima to steer the youths in the right direction and to develop their characters.

Percy agreed with Cliff and soon afterward the idea of the Arima Velodrome turned into a reality.

Cliff acknowledges that Percy was a person “who got things done”.

We are thankful to Elma Reyes for writing an article on Cliff’s early days as an athlete.

… it triggered the athletic career of sprinter Cliff Bertrand
BY ELMA REYES
“Money or the box?” Jim Bryan, the Pick-a-Box host, asked the young contestant.
“Money!” the boy said without hesitation, “I’ll take the money.”
He knew that the box would contain either a valuable gift or some bit of rubbish – The “booby prize”. Either way he did care less.
As he took the money and stepped offstage, the audience gasped. The rejected box revealed an expensive radio.
But the young man, a hopeful sprinter could not care less.
He was lost in a daze as he realized that the twenty-two dollars which he had won made what had been a wistful dream a reality.
The night was 16 August 1955.
A few weeks before, he had outpaced athletic stalwarts of St. Mary’s College – Hugo Blaize, Selwyn Heywood and Knolly Barnes.
A friend who sometimes lent him his track-shoes had not been able to do on that occasion, so he had sprinted BARE-FOOTED.
The track shoes had cost exactly $22, and after buying them this ambitious young man had a spell of bad luck. This was interrupted briefly by the swift series of successes in May 1955, which led to his being promoted from Juniors B to A Class.
Cliff Bertrand’s subsequent success now form part of Trinidad’s sporting history.
Cliff, a modest and friendly young man, is among the most popular of Arima’s native sons.
He enjoys the meditative solitude of the fisherman, dancing, (“although I do not dance very well”), and lots of reading. He particularly relishes philosophy and works which deal with physical education.
He has never played ‘mas’ although he admits ‘jumping up’ on Carnival nights.
Cliff is grateful to the teachers who first made him interested in sports. These were Messrs. John Brooks, Sulan Assue, and Roderick Ruiz, all of whom were his teachers at the Arima Boys’ Roman Catholic School.
“It was at school that I first developed the will to compete,” Cliff said. “We ran for simple prizes like copybooks and pencils every Friday afternoon.
“At Progressive High School, I once met an interested teacher. He was Bertie Thompson, and he trained me almost every evening after school.”
It is typical of Cliff that he tries to pass on all that he has learnt in the field of athletics to interested persons.
He is never too busy to help schools and other organisations with athletic training, or any other problem concerning sport. At present, he assists his friends Cecil Walker and Ray Watkins and Father Murphy of the Holy Cross College in conducting clinics for the Abilene Club.
Membership of this Club is not limited to any particular age group, although the largest proportion are teenagers.
“If young people have some active and healthy hobby, they are not likely to get themselves into trouble,” he said.
Cliff has a great many friends and enjoys making them. He likes most people, and judges a man by what he is and not by his appearance or social standing.
He is a graduate of the New York University, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education.
“I was poor as a child, and although I always wished to be a University graduate, it seemed beyond my wildest dreams,” Cliff said.
It was through his athletic prowess that Cliff obtained a scholarship to study at the New York University.
“Once a boy scout, Cliff views with approval the rules pf the movement.
“The Scout laws have helped me greatly, particularly in discipline,” he said.
At present, he is undergoing a different form of training – that of sub-editing at the offices of the ‘Daily Mirror’.

Elma Reyes full article is in Cliff’s Bio: https://arimacirc.wordpress.com/dr-cliff-bertrand/

And here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/acirc/permalink/1160473880762967/

Cliff Shares Abilene’s Beginning

Cliff shared the people who were instrumental in leading the Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club he founded in Arima. Persons such as Cecil “Tiger” Walker, Raymond “Ray” Watkins, and Fr. Edward Foley from Holy Cross College, Arima.

Back in 1963.the question was asked:
“How can we make a contribution to the permanency of sports in Arima? In order to ensure going a step beyond wishful thinking.

We wanted to facilitate Sports in Arima; that would empower exploration to really make a difference as an organization in the communities of Arima and surroundings, in which we live, work, play and explore?

Arimians are a very special people; they love Arima; this knowledge packaged a wholesome advantage to boost Arima as the epicenter of sports development in Trinidad &Tobago.
Our questions fashioned where answers should materialized and surface through the corridors of time and service.

We were determined to be sports servants. This spirit allowed us to tap into our community’s human capital resources: passions, engagement, commitment and implementation of a bravura well-intentioned to connect with the realities of our Royal Borough’s Political and Sports developmental ambitions.

Our intention to move forward required the services of Doctors, Dentists, and Business People and most encouragingly the wisdom and blessings of the Arima people.

We obtained the services of Dr Eugene Laurent, Dr. Carter, (MDS), Dentists; Ms. Ruby Atwell -Ferguson ; First Aide , Nurse Annie Robertine “Tidd” Artherton –Arima Hospital;
“Boss” Maragh; Ragoo Bombpart; Mr &Mrs Charles Morris .

We needed Tutors for our Cambridge bound kids: Mr. Earl John ,Mr. Ralph Henry ;Mr. Cecil walker; We needed the Church involvement Fr. Murphy, Fr. Foley came on board;

We needed Transportation ,Mr. Fred Lathuillerie. “PIGGY”Nanlal. Ernest Armstrong this team was anchored by: Stanley Harding, Emmanuel “Bobbots” Seifert, Mary Seifert , Calvin “Rod” Philips.

Continue reading Cliff’s article here: https://www.facebook.com/SocaPhD/posts/10157838744415931

Cecil “Tiger” Walker, Abilene Wildcats Coach & Pioneer

Cecil “Tiger” Walker, a teacher then at Arima Boy’s Government School, went abroad to the USA and became educated in physical education at University.

Cecil “Tiger” Walker #1 in photo

So Cliff made use of the rich talent of Cecil Walker as coach of Abilene. Cecil Walker was then instrumental in getting scholarships at Universities in the USA for athletes in the Abilene Club. Cliff was one such athlete who benefited from Cecil Walker’s influence and contributions.

Cliff shares his Tribute to Cecil Walker at his passing: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=401878933572107&id=100012500115142&substory_index=0

Raymond “Ray” Watkins – First President of Abilene Wildcats of Arima

Raymond “Ray” Watkins, a scoutmaster became the 1st President of the Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club

Even in this community, not many people knew it was Abilene President Ray Watkins, Abilene Team Doctor, Dr Eugene Laurent, Roderick Reese – Manager/Coach of Arima Valiant Cycle Club, and Dr Cliff Bertrand – Founder of Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club, who stimulated the thought process of the then leaders of the Arima Borough Council to give the Velodrome and Running Track space in the Santa Rosa Savannah.

Ray Watkins and his team pleaded with the then Mayor of Arima, Percy Cezair, and pressed the Council Members, until they agreed to build the Velodrome, Athletic Track, and by extension created the space for Netball, Tennis, Football and Basketball.
The primary schools and environs also went on to enjoy these facilities.

They also gained the blessings of Dr. Eric Eustace Williams, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, “Father of our Nation”. Who went on to break the ground for construction of the facilities.

Ray Watkins: The scout master. Leader of the people!
The Volunteer for Youths in Arima.

Continue reading the Tribute Cliff paid to Ray Watkins: http://drcliffbertrand.blogspot.com/2017/05/raymond-ray-watkins-first-president-of.html

NYU Athletics Hall Of Fame – May 2, 2015

Former Trinidad &Tobago Olympian and founder of Arima-based Abilene Wildcats Track Club, Dr. Cliff Bertrand, was inducted into the New York University (NYU) Athletics Hall Of Fame (class of 1962) on May 2, 2015. I posted this event and photos on his website for him. http://drcliffbertrand.blogspot.com/2015/11/nyu-athletics-hall-of-fame-may-2-2015.html
Here are some photos to highlight the event.

The Personal Side Of Cliff Bertrand

Those who knew Cliff closely knew his love for life and what was his favourite pastimes and interest.

He loved his roti, and would often go to Queens, NY to get for Kay and himself.

Mangoes he enjoyed, and when he went to Trinidad, knew exactly where to go and whom to visit, to get his.

And peewah he always spoke about and was eating in-front of me during our Skype video sessions.

Cliff grew up in Arima when the horse racing track was still in the town of Arima. He also trained and ran on the grass side of that race track. So horses were part of his DNA.

Horse-racing was not only a passion but also an investment with rich rewards through his betting winnings. He studied the big horseraces like studying for an exam. And those who followed his tips also benefited.

Gardening he loved to do and spoke of what he was constantly planting during the summer months in his backward.

I believed reading occupied most of his time though – he a lifelong learner and student of life. New skills he always found a way to apply in his other personal pursuits such as his creative writings which included sports and education.

And the area of his life that showed his love for humanity: He made time for his many close friends and family all over the world, and scheduled conversations with all of us in his calendar daily.

That formed an integral part of his life and showed his true love for every one of us. We each were special in his eyes and felt so. That is the spiritual nature of the man exemplified who loved his neighbour. The Cliff we knew and grew to love evermore. Our humble teacher, our coach, our friend, our brother !!!!

Some of Cliff”s Facebook Postings

He shared on the Arima Facebook Groups his ideas from his past experiences. He became part of our online community. And he was deeply respected for all his invaluable contributions.

At the beginning of 2018, when I shared New Year Blessings on my Arima Community Info Resource Centre Facebook Group Page, Cliff shared this comment:

“Kazim I wish you and your immediate a pleasant 2018 and beyond ! I am also embracing this opportunity to thank you for your ability to accomplish what no other Arimian has done. That is, bringing the Arima people together. Single handily you have done this. The Community is reaching out to each other. They now have a voice because of you! You have brought to light powerful egos, altruistic understandings, on the platform “Arima Community info Resources Centre”.”

This is a comment made by Cliff to help keep me inspired and to spur me on. The coach instinct was in him always. However, I feel that I must express my own view that others are doing the same in other Groups on Facebook in Arima. And more importantly, all the burgesses who share their views are the ones who make our Groups what they are. And I wish to thank everyone and convey my appreciation as well to all who participate. To God be the Praise and Glory.

On his Dr. Cliff Bertrand Caribbean and American Insights on Sports and Education Facebook Group Page which I created for him, he shared this on the subject of writing on the History of Arima:

“The question of writing the History of Arima.
I feel that there can be no ownership of the position.
We have many scribes in and from the Borough of Arima.
This should not be a photo opt response pursuit.
It must embrace “the Generations”: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, and the yet to be born.
It requires among other things: Passion, Purpose, People, Buildings, Activities, etc.
We live in a changed and forever changing Arima. Because of this; the self-appointed author can’t do it by him/herself.
The scary part of the assignment is to know the fan base; To go after the “Gold “he/she must want to do it. Must be prepared for it; Must face the challenge. Work ethic, drive, projecting Arima, build an objective defense against egotistic people; Adaptation, want to learn and be detailed; to use the right vehicle to get the message across and yet to be determined expectations.
Technically he/she should research.
Qualitative research can produce detailed information from where one can identify a number of themes and patterns. A conceptual framework is then developed by summarizing the mental image of the themes and patterns that are emerging from the data.
For guidance on how to develop conceptual frameworks. Go surround yourself with unselfish people.
The “I” “I”, “Me” “Me” people must be observed but not tolerated. Get untapped computer literate people involved! Twitters, Instagramers, Facebookers, Snapchatters, etc.”

Whether we liked and agreed with Cliff’s statements, they were sure to educate and make us think outside the box. One such comment was about an education post by someone on Facebook. To which Cliff replied:

“Teacher needs to develop classroom management skills. The classrooms are arranged for Traditional teaching methods. Classroom arrangements have not changed in over 80 years! I have been a pupil in this setting 70 years ago! It pains me to see this !”

Once when I posted on my Arima Community Info Resource Centre Facebook Group a video featuring Dr. Nigel Noriega about an animal called the ocelot, Cliff shared:

“My first encounter with this “Wildcat” as we called them was in the high woods on the borders of Las Lomas # 3 and Brazil. We eyeballed each other and ran away in opposite direction. I never visited that part of the woods anymore. My second encounter was in the Arena forest near San Raphael. We both survived the occasion. Perhaps with fear of each other.”

And for anyone who died in our Arima town, Cliff made sure to extend his personal condolences to the family on our Arima Facebook Groups.

When my eldest brother passed away last year, he called me to extend his condolences. And when another family member of mine passed away a few years ago, he asked for a family member’s phone number so he could personally convey his heartfelt condolences.

That he had a deep consideration for our friendship is evidenced by how he showed his respect for my own family. And thereby I say he did the same for all his other dear friends and their families. He was such a kind, caring, and humble person to all who knew him.

Cliff died on the 28th of November, 2020.

I will certainly miss him and our Skype Videos. Seeing and conversing with him and his companion, Kay for all these years has been a gift. I sat at the feet of this master, this giant of a man, humble with all his accomplishments.

Cliff has left us a great legacy. His sporting life and the achievements that came with it is a tribute to his hard work, ethics, and training to excel as one of the best in his field.

We are indeed fortunate to have had such a person as Cliff in our lives. He is sure to be remembered. The memories we have of him will continue to inspire us. This is his legacy which is the life he lived. May he Rest In Peace.

Cliff’s first wife, Phoebe Yuille Bertrand died in 2003.

To his wife and companion Kay Garib-Bertrand, his daughter Lisa Bertrand-Brathwaite and son-in-law Frank Brathwaite and other family members, we extend our deepest condolences.

Friends and Family Personal Tributes

Childhood friend, Jones P. Madeira shared:

“I am quite sorry to learn of Cliff’s passing. I was speaking his name just last week during a conversation with my 97-year-old mother, recounting that Cliff and his mum lived in a couple rooms of the house our respective mothers rented to provide the shelter we needed at that very early age. The memories take me back to when I was about four years old. Naturally, Cliff was closer to my brother who was perhaps three years older than I was. I recalled his lanky frame. I didn’t know what happened to precipitate our move from those premises but our separation put us completely out of touch in those days.. I always remembered his company a true fraternal type as we combed the surrounding hillsides in search of adventure. The house is still there. not much change brought on by renovation. I tried to bring back those memories personally a few weeks ago in a telephone conversation. with him. I could still hear his thunder and his passion and I rejoice in the glory he brought Arima. I do not know his family of today, but I send them deepest condolences especially from my mother Gertrude who was Cliff and his mum’s neighbour neighbour. The hills are filled yet with the sounds of our ancestors and I am happy that God gave me enough longevity to witness a great life by Cliff. May he rest in peace. (Jones P. Madeira)”

Former Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian: Member of Parliament D’abadie O’meara shared:

“Oh no, this is so sad to read. He was such an inspiration and excellent writer ❤️ One by one our giants are falling. I met Dr. Bertrand officially online when I first became councillor for Arima Central. Joyfully over the years our interactions as well our friendship grew. His love of Sports and his love for Arima were foundation pillars of his personality. Thank you Cliff for your dedication, patriotism and your kindness. Rest easy my friend.”

Former Arima Mayor, Elvin Edwards shared:

“Wow, I am very, very saddened at the passing of a true Friend of Our Family. Sincerest Condolences to His Family. RIP, ‘Cliff’.”

Former Arima Mayor Ghassan Youseph shared:

“My sincere condolences to the family.”

Past Abilene Wildcat Athletic Club runner Hilary Bernard shared:

“Cliff Bertrand was the founder of Abilene Wildcats Athletic Club in 1963. He was very instrumental in connecting young athletes to great universities offering scholarships to Caribbean students. He ensured that I was scouted and therefore I was able to pursue tertiary education. He stayed in touch with the hundreds of athletes who passed through the club, and up to his last day, was assisting in arranging beneficial connections wherever his influence could reach. He was really larger than life. My Mom’s God brother since he was one of my grandmother’s early God children. A man passionate to the core about what he saw as important. Thank God he knew we appreciated him. May he rest in peace. He will be sorely missed.”

From Gerry Wilson, Past Burnley runner:

May the Hon. Dr. Cliff Bertrand R.I.P. And Yesssssssssssss. He did it “His Way “. From humble beginnings, what a great mentor and “Student – Athlete” he was…Never Limited or Unselfish with his time to INSPIRE those who sought him out for direction…His Legacy is that Organic Gift that only he has earned along the way through his body of work, earning every bit of it. He never wanted to be honoured for the positions held, but surely wanted to be honoured for what he personally brought to it and the difference he made in people’s lives. The poet Kaklil Gibran perfectly describes Cliffs days with us when he said. “Your Soul Is Oftentimes A Battlefield, Upon Which Your Reason And Your Judgment Wage War Against Your Passion And Your Appetite”. What an honour to have known him well enough and be in his presence…🙏

Founder of Arima We For Facebook Group, Flloyd Hernandez shared:
“A tremendous loss to our group, our town, our country and humanity. Condolences to his family and loved ones, the athletic community and in particular, Abilene Wildcats.
Rest in peace Dr. Bertrand”

Randy Gomes shared:
“Very sad and shocking news indeed. Deepest condolences to his family and friends. A true Ambassador of Arima and Trinidad. May He Rest In Eternal Peace 🙏”

Frank Christo shared:
“Dr. Cliff Bertrand was an Arima born international track star. He founded the Abilene Wildcats club and mentored many an athlete. His encouragement and dedication led to many obtaining scholarships in the USA. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Dr. Bertrand.”

Lynette Quamina shared:
“My prayers and sympathy to his family and other loved ones. Arima has lost another iconic example of excellence. May his soul rest in peace 😔”

Sheridon Hill shared:
“Condolences to his family members friends and loved ones and may his soul rest in peace.
I remember meeting Dr. Cliff Bertrand at Sheldon Gomes’s home in Long Island at that Holy Cross College reunion in 2007. I can vividly recall Mr. Fitzgerald “Lutch” Baboolal, his brother, “Jimmy” James Toussaint, and my class of 84 classmates Tucker Hyde and Gerard Maharaj and other HCC alumni at that reunion.”

LINKS

Bio of Dr. Cliff Bertrand: https://arimacirc.wordpress.com/dr-cliff-bertrand/

Clifton Bertrand Bio on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Bertrand

Elma Reyes full article is in Cliff’s Bio: https://arimacirc.wordpress.com/dr-cliff-bertrand/

Elma Reyes full article on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/acirc/permalink/1160473880762967/

Dr. Cliff Bertrand shares his Insights on Track & Field Sports, and Education Website/Blog: http://drcliffbertrand.blogspot.com/

Dr Cliff Bertrand Caribbean and American Insights on Sports and Education Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/Dr-Cliff-Bertrand-Caribbean-and-American-Insights-on-Sports-and-Education-1664318243857173/?ref=page_internal

My father’s day,” a life beyond measure”: http://drcliffbertrand.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-fathers-day-life-beyond-measure.html

In closing, Cliff’s previous articles are being complied in a repository here on Arima Community Info Resource Website/Blog and made available to the public. Link below:

Dr. Clifton Bertrand (Cliff): https://arimacirc.wordpress.com/dr-clifton-bertrand-cliff/

By Kazim Abasali 2nd December, 2020


Kazim Abasali is a multimedia artist who enjoys creating his empowering and inspiring art, music, videos, ebooks, published articles, and websites, for himself and others. To access his artistic projects, kindly visit his website.


“Empower with Art” – Hearts empowering lives.
www.EmpowerwithArt.com