Clytus Arnold Thomasos is arguably Arima’s most distinguished son.
He was born on July 23rd, 1906, the son of Ceran Thomasos and Eudora, popularly known as Tantie Dodo. He attended the Arima Boys’ R.C. School following which he entered the Pupil Teacher system. He spent 35 years of his life in the service of education.
He taught first at the Arima Boys’ R.C. School. His first appointment as a Head Teacher was at La Pastora. Next he moved to the San Rafael R.C and many years later, to the Boissiere Village R.C. School which was to be his last posting.
On December 14th, 1930 he married Theodora Inez Austin and from their union came five daughters, Joyce, Cynthia (deceased), Gloria (deceased), Jeanette and Patsy.
In 1956, when party politics was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago for the first time and the P.N.M., the People’s National Movement, emerged under the leadership of Dr. Eric Williams, Arnold Thomasos was the P.N.M. candidate for Arima. He resigned his position as Headmaster of the Boissiere Village Roman Catholic School to become the candidate.
In that election, he defeated Mr. Johnny Brooks, another very prominent Arimian who ran for the P.O.P.P.G., the Party of Political Progress Groups.
When the P.N.M. swept to victory, Edgar Mortimer Duke was appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives and Arnold Thomasos was appointed Deputy Speaker.
Five years later, in the election of 1961, Mr. Thomasos was again the victorious candidate for Arima defeating Ursula Bleasdell (Aunty Babsie) who ran for the D.L.P., the Democratic Labour Party.
On December 29th 1961, when Parliament convened, he was appointed Speaker of the House, a position he would hold until 1981 when ill health forced him to retire.
His 20 years in the Chair made him the longest-serving Speaker in the British Commonwealth.
When he was appointed Speaker in 1961, although he remained a member of the P.N.M., he never again involved himself in active politics since he knew that, as Speaker, he would have to be totally impartial in his rulings in the House and a more impartial Speaker has never sat in the Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament.
He was a man about whom the old adage truly applied “He walked with Kings but never lost the common touch.”
He was a stern Speaker, the Schoolmaster in him being ever uppermost but outside of the Chamber he was approachable and friendly.
In 1976, in the Independence Day Honours, he was awarded the nation’s highest award, the Trinity Cross, for long and distinguished service to Trinidad and Tobago.
In his younger years, he was a keen cricketer, a poet and short-story writer, publishing two volumes of poems in his lifetime, the first in 1939, the second, entitled ONE MOMENT, in 1980. He was also a columnist for the EVENING NEWS for several years.
He was a member of a literary group founded in 1946 by the late Justice Eric Hallinan. Others in that group included Errol Hill, Edgar Mittelholzer, Barnabas Ramon-Fortune, Ernest Carr, Neville Giuseppi and Seepersad Naipaul, father of Nobel Prize winner, Vidia Naipaul.
Arnold Thomasos was also a very hard-working member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and was involved in the building of a Home for Aged Women at Industry Street in Arima.
On Thursday, December 20th 1990, Arnold Thomasos passed to the Great Beyond and Arima had lost one of its most distinguished sons.
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