Torrance Mohammed, founder of the Arawaks Dance Group.

Sascha Wilson

The daughter of cultural icon and dancer Torrance Mohammed has thanked citizens and the medical professionals who helped him in his final hours.

Unable to attend his funeral tribute service held at Belgroves Funeral Home, in San Fernando, yesterday, Charlene Mohammed-King, the eldest of his four children, said her father was a gentle soul and no one anticipated he would have met his demise in that way.

In a video recording, she expressed appreciation to everyone for their kindness, condolences and support during one of the “darkest moments” of her life.

She especially thanked two groups of people.

She said, “First I wish to thank those citizens on the in the street where the assault occurred. You came to my dad’s assistance in his greatest hour of need. In particular to the woman who held the umbrella over him while he waited for an ambulance. This act of kindness have been forever etched in my mind and it will never be forgotten. I hope to locate you when I return to Trinidad and I look forward to being able to say thank you in person.”

She also thanked the medical staff who attended to her father at the San Fernando General Hospital.

“Thank you for all your efforts while the outcome was not what any of us had hoped for your care and kindness and efforts to both save him and keep him comfortable are greatly appreciated,” she said.

While he forged a close relationships with his colleagues during his 60-plus years of service at Maritime Life, she said, “Torrance lived for the arts and he dedicated much of his life to his passion. I might even go as far as to say that dad’s first and only true love was the arts and the community of dance and fellowship that came with it.”

She added, “My father lived a long and beautiful life and while his death is not the one that we anticipated nor would have ever wanted for this beautiful gentle soul, he was loved and he loved. He was good and he did good. He was joyful and he was mischievous. He was our father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and colleague he will be dearly missing. Torrance Igbal Mohammed I love you and I will miss you forever.”

Reflecting on his life from childhood to adulthood, his close friend Godfrey Martin said Mohammed served on various cultural boards, was a founding member of the San Fernando Arts Council and Creative Arts Centre, represented the country regionally and internationally and was awarded the national Medal of Merit.

Via a video link, he said, “We have been graced by a cultural icon, a creative master dancer, humble and selfless personality. He has devoted his life to lifting us all us through his creativity, his service to community and willingness to share knowledge and wisdom freely. He inspired others to greater heights.”

Noting that his work and legacy represents an important part of our social and cultural history, he said communities must take the initiative to honour and respect icons and senior citizens, instead of waiting for official parties to do it.

In tribute to Mohammed, San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello recalled that Mohammed had joined one of the first dance groups in San Fernando –Ms Beryl Mc Burnie, by Canon Max Farquhar of St. Paul’s Anglican Church– and he was a stand out student.

Following this, Regrello said the Arawaks Dance Group was formed and in the following decades Arawak dancers were spread across the country.

“Torrance was persistent, overcoming every obstacle, as he did what was necessary to achieve his goals. He was small in stature, but was a giant in what he was able to accomplish,” he said.

The burial took place at the Paradise Cemetery.