Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2015 Contents A29
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Today, Paramount Pictures will
open Terminator Genisys, the reset of
the blockbuster franchise, from Para-
mount Pictures and Skydance, in
IMAX 3D at Digicel IMAX.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke and Jai
Courtney, Terminator Genisys is di-
rected by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark
World) and is produced by David Elli-
son and Dana Goldberg of Skydance.
The screenplay is by Laeta Kalorgridis
(Avatar, Shutter Island) and Patrick
Lussier (Drive Angry).
When John Connor (Jason Clarke),
leader of the human resistance, sends
Sgt Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to
1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia
Clarke) and safeguard the future, an
unexpected turn of events creates a
fractured timeline. Now, Sgt Reese
finds himself in a new and unfamiliar
version of the past, where he is faced
with unlikely allies, including the
Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger),
dangerous new enemies, and an unex-
pected new mission: to reset the fu-
ture. The film also stars J K Simmons,
Dayo Okeniyi, Matthew Smith, Court-
ney B Vance and Byung-Hun Lee.
Terminator reprise today
Meet 97-year-old Vivian London Parris.
Sometimes he would extend his left hand
to greet you or to say goodbye. Iconic
Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie taught him
that move during the late emperor s visit
to T&T in 1966. "The left arm is closer to
your heart," Parris recalls being told by the
"humble," physically diminutive African
During that visit, Parris remembers heading
back to the old Piarco airport terminal to
retrieve Selassie s famous pet dog, Lulu, a
chihuahua. "No, she didn t want to bite me,"
Parris says of the dog known among palace
aides in Ethiopia for sniffing out Selassie s
The Selassie trip, the very year Parris came
into close quarters with Queen Elizabeth II
during her visit to the country, was among
the highlights of a long career as chauffeur
to governors, governors-general and presi-
dents spanning the tenure of the last British
colonial governor Sir Edward Betham
Beetham between 1955 and 1960 to the term
of Noor Hassanali who served as president
between 1987 and 1997.
So, where was he on August 31, 1962,
when the T&T flag was flown for the first
time? "I was right there," he replies proudly.
As Hochoy s driver, he stood in police cer-
emonial uniform not far from the platform
where the Princess Royal, the Governor-
General and first Prime Minister Eric Williams
witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack
and the raising of the red, white and black.
"It was a great day," he says. "But when
you look at today, it still didn t work."
For Beetham, the work of official driver
was all business with few personal exchanges
and a predictable work routine, says Parris.
But the late Sir Ellis Clarke, who succeeded
Sir Solomon Hochoy as Governor-General
in 1972, was a different story. "He liked to
dance a lot," Parris told T&T Guardian. "Make
sure you write that."
Driving Sir Ellis around brought a dramatic
change of routine for Parris, following his
years as driver to Beetham and Hochoy.
Beetham was all business, the Hochoy term
meant many weekend drives to Blanchisseuse
to the Governor-General s private seaside
residence, but with Sir Ellis, the days were
simply longer because, as he put it, the coun-
try s first president loved to "socialise."
One Sunday morning, en route to church,
Parris remembers Sir Ellis covering his eyes
as they encountered a naked, homeless man
on the streets of Port-of-Spain. There was
corresponding silence in the car.
Not the same with Hassanali, who did not
use alcohol and "used to crack jokes" and
whose wife, Zalayhar, "used to organise
He recalls the nervousness that followed
what is widely regarded as an attempt on
the life of the president s wife in 1989. Parris
was not the driver of the car, but became
a part of the action a year later when the
Jamaat al Muslimeen staged its July 27, 1990
attempted coup d état.
With Hassanali out of the country, Parris
was charged with hustling acting president
Emmanuel Carter and his wife, Barbara, out
of their Diego Martin home and head straight
to the army base in Chaguaramas. "Mr Carter
was a true gentleman," Parris recalls.
On a few occasions, he drove late Prime
Minister Dr Eric Williams back to his official
residence following visits to the president s
house. He remembers putting on Johann
Strauss Blue Danube Waltz on the gramo-
phone at the request of the country s first
One of his favourite people was the late
Brigadier General Joffre Serrette, who served
as aide-de-camp to the governor-general
before moving on to famously lead negoti-
ations with a group of mutinous soldiers
and return as head of the army in 1970 after
being controversially relieved of his command
in 1968. It was Serrette who "taught me to
shoot" and whose regimental buttons Parris
Today, with decades in the company of
royalty and high office behind him, Parris
has not lost the common touch. At his son,
Wayne s Mt D Or home, he laments the poor
state of national politics and advocates a
simple lifestyle free of tobacco, the occasional
drink and home-grown vegetables.
Mindful of his pledge of many years that
"whatever happens on the job, stays on the
job," there are no salacious revelations from
Parris, though he does occasionally offer a
naughty smile in the midst of a distant mem-
Born on June 20, 1918, while the world
was at war, Vivian London Parris, has seen
his share of national and international turmoil
but now shares happy times with his family
when he is not at the home for the aged at
Mt St Benedict.
Last year, he travelled on his own to Lon-
don to visit his daughter, Lima, who runs a
private school in the UK. She is one of six
children to Vivian and his wife Sybil, a former
hotel worker, who now lives in Petit Bourg.
He offers a left hand as the interview ends.
"That s the side where the heart is," he
Parris reminisces about his career as chauffeur to presidents
BEETHAM TO HASSANALI
Vivian London Parris, former chauffeur to governors, governors-general and presidents.
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