November 2016

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From an early age, Rev. Daniel Teelucksingh began an enduring journey, which has covered almost a half-century as a minister in the Presbyterian Church across the length and breadth of Trinidad.

Raised in a church-going family, serving others manifested like the natural order of things, so that by the time he was a teenager, he was already teaching Sunday School and was a member of the Church’s Youth Group. He built a sound foundation from the Riversdale Primary School and subsequently enlisted in an In-service Teachers’ Training Programme that enabled him to simultaneously study on his own and acquire both Ordinary and Advanced Level certification through the University of London External Examinations.

He taught at his alma mater for six years before leaving to join the church and left Trinidad to attend the fledgling United Theological College of the West Indies, situated in Jamaica. The college was built on the shared faith of several denominations including the Jamaican diocese of the Anglican Church, the Grenadian, Guyanese and Trinidad Presbyterian Churches, the Jamaica Baptist Union, the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas and the Moravian Churches of the West Indies and Jamaica Provinces. This was an ecumenical venture but it was also distinctly Caribbean. From the outset, the college established a close working relationship with The University of the West Indies. That relationship remains strong today.

At the college, Teelucksingh read for a licentiate of Theology and on his return to Trinidad was ordained as a priest in 1967. Shortly thereafter he was appointed Minister of the Tunapuna Presbyterian Church and served as Chaplain of the St Augustine Campus of the UWI. 1970 would prove eventful for Teelucksingh. In the academic field, the young Reverend Teelucksingh completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree externally from the University of London. Meanwhile, on the St Augustine Campus he faced tense and explosive times during those heady days as a politically vibrant student body energized the Black Power Movement of 1970.

Those experiences served to ground Teelucksingh and to stimulate his sense of commitment to our national and regional communities. Blessed with a drive for scholarly pursuits, he completed a Master of Sacred Theology from the Union Theological Seminary of New York in 1974 and was elected as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad from 1975-1977.

Ministering at the Penal Presbyterian Church in 1977, Reverend Teelucksingh and others were struck by the absence of a school for special children throughout the areas from San Fernando to Point Fortin. The idea blossomed into an ecumenical effort inclusive of the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, and opened as the ‘Penal School for Handicapped Children.’ Today, in the service of Special Children, the School continues as the Lady Hochoy School, Penal.

Away from the formal Ministry, Reverend Teelucksingh continued to dedicate his life in service to the community. He spent a decade contributing to the legislative framework of the country as an Independent Senator in the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He infused Senate debates and law-making exercises with moral imperatives and added a spiritual dimension. He has championed such causes as restorative justice, women’s and children’s rights, vagrancy alleviation and the care of street children. Reverend Teelucksingh has also worked as a motivational speaker and lecturer and has earned a number of national awards. A master communicator, he currently employs his many skills as a member of the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago.

For these and many other contributions, The UWI conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on Reverend Teelucksingh.