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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Former national security minister Retired Brigadier Joseph Theodore died Saturday from a massive heart attack at the Westshore Private Hospital, west of here.
A government statement said that Theodore, believed to be in his 70s, and who served as national security minister in the 1995-2001 Basdeo Panday Administration, had complained of chest pains and had been taken to the facility for treatment.
"Joe-T", as he was affectionately known, had a long and illustrious career as a military officer in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and is credited with "leading the charge" in 1990 against the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group that sought to overthrow the then ANR Robinson Administration.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith has expressed shock at the death, saying "just this morning, I was trying to contact him to be my special adviser as, on my appointment, he stated his willingness to provide me with support and advice. He was a great leader, a great soldier and a great friend".
Griffith said Brigadier Theodore was one of the most successful and respected Chiefs of Defence Staff and Minister of National Security.
Theodore was among the witnesses who have testified before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into the 1990 insurrection by the Muslim group, telling the commissioners that, during the attack of July 27, 1990, key aspects of what was going on were unknown to the army, such as the negotiations surrounding the so-called amnesty agreement.
"I never saw it. To this day I have never seen it. I never saw the amnesty, and I never made myself interested in anything of the sort. Surely we ought to have been told. No minister came to me and said 'this is what we would like you to do'. Our instructions from the beginning stood.
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