Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2017 Contents news A5
Monday, February 6, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Brave battle with cancer recalled
Even in death, Angelo Bisses-
sarsingh made history. He was
the longest surviving pancreatic
At his funeral yesterday, his aunt
Prof Dr Ann Marie Bissessar appeal-
ing to the authorities to do more to
help cancer patients.
Angelo, 34, died at his Siparia
home on Thursday morning after
a two year battle with pancreatic
cancer. He was diagnosed in 2015
with stage four terminal pancreatic
cancer but continued his work as a
historian despite his illness.
Bissessar, dean of the Faculty of
Social Sciences at the University
of the West Indies (UWI), said on
many occasions Angelo was turned
away from the oncology centre at St
James because there was no medi-
"Angelo was an amazing person.
He stood not only for history but
he was also an advocate for cancer
patients," she said. "For the last
two years, when we found out An-
gelo had cancer, we used to go every
Monday to the cancer centre and he
had transformed that cancer centre,
he would go in, people would come
with books and Angelo was like this
consummate person, signing books
"Unfortunately, I think the medi-
cal services failed Angelo and failed
him dreadfully. Many times when
we went there it was to be turned
back because there was no medicine,
the chemo did not come. There were
times the chemo did not come for
months and we therefore we had to
source it independently and finan-
cially. A lot of people that he knew as
friends died because of that."
Bissessar said t120 new cases reg-
istered every Monday at the centre.
"I hope for two things, that his
books get into the schools and sec-
ondly that the cancer centre gets
upgraded. The resources in term
of human resources are fantastic,
the problem is it needs assistance
in terms of money.
Angelo's father, Rudolph Bisses-
sarsingh, called for a preservation
fund for history to be started in his
"In his death, there must be po-
litical action, not political will, to
dedicate a fund in Angelo's name
for the preservation of our herit-
age," he said.
"Angelo possessed a gift where-
by he told the story of our nation,
a story of diverse people and cul-
ture brought together by accident,
brought by the sugar cane. He taught
us to love ourselves and protect each
other and if we want to preserve his
legacy we must put in place funds to
preserve our heritage," he said
Among those paying tribute to the
late historian was Local Government
Minister Kazim Hosein who said if
it was up to him, there would be a
museum named after Angelo in San
"I am no longer the Mayor of San
Fernando but if it were up to me I
would take that library we have
standing empty and turn it into
a museum named after Angelo,"
He went told Angelo's family that
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had
promised to ensure that the histo-
rian's legacy lives on.
President Anthony Carmona
added his voice the call for Angelo's
books to be included in the school's
"I have been quietly purchasing
scores of his books and handing
them out to school children and
dignitaries," he said.
Recalling Angelo's ability to bring
joy to others, Carmona said: "With
that cherubic smile that could light
up any room, we will never forget
the power of one to change the per-
spective of a nation."
Local Muslims are being
warned that applying for a travel
permit from the Ministry of Na-
tional Security to visit countries
labelled as terrorist can be an
avenue to "set you up."
Head of the Islamic Missionaries
Guild Imtiaz Mohammed raised the
matter at a meeting of local Muslim
organisations held yesterday to dis-
cuss proposed amendments to the
The meeting at the Islamic Cen-
tre in Kelly Village, Caroni was at-
tended by imams from across T&T,
including leader of the Jamaat al
Muslimeen Yasin Abu Bakr, head of
the Crown Trace Mosque in Enter-
prise, Chaguanas, Imam Mourland
Lynch and Montrose Mosque leader
Hamza Mohammed, who was one of
three imams detained on allegations
of terrorism in Venezuela in 2014.
The meeting was organised by the
Muslims of T&T group.
On Thursday, Attorney General
Faris Al-Rawi said he planned to
introduce restrictions on travel to
countries which considered to be
terrorist. Nationals who choose to
travel to any of those countries will
require a permit.
However Mohammed raised se-
rious concerns about the proposal.
"What is the process to get this
travel permit and can they refuse to
issue it to you? Also, how long would
it take to process and issue the per-
mit ? What is the cost? Would you be
monitored from the time the permit
is issued to you until your return? If
I want a permit for two, three, six
months or a year, can I get it? People
who are studying, working or living
there may need this," he said.
He said there is always the chance
that people can get the permit and
still join Isis and return to T&T.
Mohammed said he believes
Al-Rawi is treading on dangerous
ground as he is proposing to take
away the freedom of movement
and worship of Muslims. He said
by passing such a Bill, the AG will
be labelling all Muslims as terrorists.
"This proposed law must be met
with stiff resistance from Muslims
and even the rest of T&T. When
Muslim citizens with the permit
have to travel, they would be looked
at as a terrorist at the airports where
they disembark from their flights,"
"Remember the authorities will
notify their foreign partners on your
travel arrangements so they would
be waiting for you. They may detain
and question you on many things.
Your character can be tainted in a
serious way. This is character assas-
sination," Mohammed said.
Abu Bakr wondered about the dif-
ference in Trinidadians going to the
United States to become part of the
US Military and fight in Afghanistan,
Syria and Libya.
"They are allowed to come back
to America and when they have
returned to T&T nobody ask them
questions. They go to fight abroad
and when they come back to Amer-
ica and they come to Trinidad they
are lauded and respected, how does
that equate to someone one leaving
here to go to Syria?"
A ten-member committee was
formed including Abu Bakr and head
of the Islamic Front Umar Abdullah
to closely monitor Parliament with
respect to the Terrorism Act and to
review all information surrounding
it.There are reports that Hafiz Mo-
hammed Abdulani Rashid of India,
who was brought to T&T 14 years ago
to teach Islam, is being threatened
with deportation. He has three chil-
dren who were born in T&T.
President Anthony Carmona comforts Rudolph Bissessarsingh as he holds his hand during the funeral service of
his son, Angelo Bissessarsingh, at Belgroves Funeral Home, Coffee Street, San Fernando, yesterday.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Angelo made history in death
Muslim leaders meet on Terrorism Act
In addition to being awarded
the Hummingbird Gold Medal
last year, Angelo was also pre-
sented with the keys to the city
of San Fernando by then Mayor
His books, Walking with the
Ancestors---The Historic Ceme-
teries of Trinidad, published in
2013; Snapshots of the History
of Trinidad and Tobago, Virtu-
al Glimpses into the Past; and
Pancho's Dilemma, all published
in 2016, have earned him many
His latest book, Woodland Shad-
ows, is expected to be published
in the coming months.
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