Dear Editor: Arimians Maxie and Mary were ‘sterling examples of human decency’

“[…] The deaths of Maxie Assee and Mary Trotman saw an outpouring of love and appreciation to two outstanding Arimians who dedicated their lives to the promotion and development of young people, and to the entire community of Arima. 

“These unlettered heroes were sterling examples of human decency, working for the good of their community out of love, and not for financial reward…”

The following letter to the editor on the passing of Maxie ‘Bird’ Assee and Mary Trotman and the Ministry of Sports’ perceived indifference to Arimian sporting heroes was submitted to Wired868 by former Arima mayor and member of parliament Ashton Ford:

Photo: The late Mary Trotman.

“Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others—qualities which are within reach of every soul—are the foundation of one’s spiritual life.” Nelson Mandela from his book ‘Conversations with Myself’.

This quote aptly describes a son and daughter of Arima who passed a day apart from each other, Priscilla Mary Trotman (Died 17 March 2021, aged 62) and Maxie Andrew ‘Bird’ Assee (Died 18 March 2021, aged 96).

In his eulogy, Maxie—as he was fondly called by Arimians—was described by former Arima Boy’s RC principal Brian Brooks as a ‘son, father, husband, uncle, friend, entrepreneur, footballer, cricketer and coach in each field, jockey, groom, boxing coach, pioneer, comedian, carnival band leader and masquerader and much more’.

Mary received similar accolades by her cousin, Beverly Trotman, who said she lived a life in three categories: food, service and sports.

While Maxie was known as the Chinese man riding his bike throughout Arima, Mary was described as ‘the godmother’ of the Pinto and Maturita Villages. Both offered unique service to the people. 

Photo: The late Maxie Assie with his beloved bicycle.

Maxie was a keen sportsman—having been involved in almost all the sporting activities in his day—and a mentor to the students at Arima Boy’s RC Primary School.

Mary, on the other hand, was chaperone to the youths in the Pinto/Maturita areas, having worked her way up the ladder in the community. She was a foundation member of the Maturita Youth Group and eventually became People’s National Movement (PNM) councillor for the Santa Rosa/Blanchisseuse Electoral District in the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation for seven years.

Maxie did not enter the political arena, but was highly respected by the elected members of the Arima Borough Council from both political parties, having been honoured at the Borough’s annual celebration, Arima Community Welfare Council and several other organisations including the Arima Race Club. He was touched when a street in Malabar Phase Four was named after him.

Mary’s residence on Pinto Road was a virtual home to hundreds of youths in the area, especially cricketers and footballers who went to her house after games to enjoy her ‘sweet hand’ as a cook. 

Unquestionably, sport ran through her blood.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago football star Mickey Trotman was Mary’s first child.

The late Mickey Trotman, her first son, represented Trinidad and Tobago at national youth and senior level while her youngest boy, Kenyon ‘Bine’ Trotman, was a former National Under-17 player.

Her daughter, Oire Trotman, represented Trinidad and Tobago at the inaugural Women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup in 2005 in Leipzig, Germany

Oire’s daughter and Mary’s granddaughter, Orielle Martin, was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Girls National Under-14 Team in 2019.

Mary’s nephew, Kirk Trotman, was right back for the National Under-20 Team in 1991, which was the first Trinidad and Tobago Team to qualify for a Fifa tournament and included the likes of Dwight Yorke, Jerren Nixon and Clayton Ince. And Kirk’s daughter, Kara Trotman, represented the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Under-17 Team in the 2017 Caribbean Championship.

Pinto’s main sport facility is named the Mickey Trotman Recreation Ground.

Photo: The T&T Girls U-14 Team pose before kickoff against Suriname in CFU Challenge Series action at Couva on 27 October 2019.
Orielle Martin, grand-daughter of Mary Trotman, is in the bottom row at the far right.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/CA-Images/Wired868)

Maxie’s family, which includes the Edwards family, also made a significant contribution to community and sports in Arima and the country as a whole.

His eldest niece, Hyacinth, played netball for T&T, while nephew Elvin, represented the National Under-21 cricket team against Australia. Elvin’s son, Cyrone Edwards, also played for the National Under-17 football team. (Elvin went on to be mayor of Arima for seven years and credited his uncle Maxie for moulding into an all-rounder in politics and sport.)

Maxie’s other nephews featured regularly for Arima clubs in football and cricket.

As a representative, Mary served with humility and attended to issues in her district in a timely manner. In everything she did, she always had the tremendous support of her family, especially her sisters Joan and Llwellyn.

At her funeral service, Member of Parliament for Arima Ms Pennelope Beckles-Robinson led glowing tributes to Mary that came from home and abroad.

Photo: Maxie Assee received multiple honours from the Arima Borough Corporation.

Beckles-Robinson was joined by D’Abadie/O’ Meara MP Ms Lisa Morris-Julian and Mayor of Arima, Cagney Cassimere in paying tribute to the pint-sized Maxie. 

Father Dwight Black, who officiated at the funeral and hails from Tobago, confessed that he never met Maxie, but saw him on many occasions riding his bike in Arima.

The deaths of Maxie and Mary saw an outpouring of love and appreciation to two outstanding Arimians who dedicated their lives to the promotion and development of young people, and to the entire community of Arima. These unlettered heroes were sterling examples of human decency, working for the good of their community out of love, and not for financial reward. 

The calls for improved and better sporting facilities for Arima and environs, grow louder as we pay our respects to these two outstanding Arimians, and honour their selflessness. 

Photo: The late Mary Trotman.

Now is an appropriate time to consider the need for an indoor sporting complex, improved facilities at the Municipal Stadium (Velodrome), upgrading of the cricket field at the Larry Gomes Stadium enclosure, and recognition of the outstanding achievements of Arima sports personalities, especially as many youths are being led astray and have limited access to facilities where they can channel their energies. 

Knowing and honouring those who paved the way is the hallmark of a civilised society. It is regrettable therefore that there was a deafening silence from the Ministry of Sports on the deaths of former Arimians and national sports personalities, Prince Bartholomew, Sheldon Gomes (cricket), Dr Cliff Bertrand, and Winston Shortt (track and field)—all of whom died within recent times.

Also being discussed is the perception that Arimians are not featured on the National Awards list, for reasons unknown. After all, it took 27 years to recognise and honour the heroic actions of Jones P Madeira during 1990’s infamous attempted coup.

He eventually received the Chaconia Gold Medal in 2017 under Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Photo: Former journalist Jones P Madeira.

Maxie Assee and Mary Trotman, all Arimians salute you for your service and loyalty. 

To their respective families: Rest assured that their names are engraved for eternity in the history of Arima, the only Royal Chartered Borough in the Western Hemisphere. 

Gens d’ Arime (People of Arima) Rest In Peace.

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