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Former Senator Louis Horne

Former Independent Senator Louise Horne has died.

She was 109.

Horne, a nutritionist by profession, was hailed as icon yesterday by former Arima Mayor Ashton Ford for having a big impact on her native Arima and the country.

“She would have been in the transition of when Trinidad and Tobago was moving from the colonial days,” said Ford in a phone interview.

“She was there for Independence, she was there for Republican.”

Ford also said her work was recognised internationally, as she was honoured as Dame Horne by Pope John Paul II in the order of St Gregory the Great.

Ford also confirmed that Horne advocated for the introduction of the school feeding programme and also successfully lobbied for individuals over 75 to drive. In 1980, a postage stamp was also launched in her honour, he said.

“She told us that she taught Lord Kitchener in school,” Ford told the T&T Guardian, recalling that she was a teacher at the Arima Boys’ Government Primary, where Aldwyn Roberts, recognised as the Grandmaster of Calypso, attended.

Horne served as an independent Senator from 1976 to 1991 and in the process became the country’s first female senator.

Arima Mayor Cagney Casimire yesterday said they had recently requested that her home on Lopez Street, Arima, be converted into a Heritage site by the National Trust. Casimire said plans for further honours by the Arima Borough Corporation will be confirmed following consultation with her family.

The National Women’s League of the People’s National Movement also issued a release on her passing.

“Dame Horne was a beacon, lighting the way for many young women to become respected professionals by emulating her fearless footsteps,” the League said.

They described her as an avid pursuer of academic excellence who went on to study nutrition on a government scholarship at the University of London and noted she was a global traveller in the pursuit of her studies of the multi-disciplines involved in dietetics.

Lady Vice Chairman of the League, Camille Robinson-Regis said, “Dame Horne was a woman of dignity and honour and extolls all women to live as joyfully as Dame Horne, embracing life in all its glory whilst helping others along the way. The League offers deepest condolences to her family and friends.”