Albert Gerard Montano, a founding member of Trinidad's governing People's National Movement party who went on to hold several senior Cabinet positions, has died. He was 87.
Montano died in his sleep Monday at his home in the capital of Port-of-Spain, said his son, Danny Montano, who is also Trinidad's labor minister.
Montano was a businessman when he entered politics in 1954, becoming the mayor of San Fernando, a borough just south of the capital. Two years later, he helped found the People's National Movement and was elected its member of Parliament for San Fernando, a post held four 14 years.
Montano traveled the country and helped recruit new members, ultimately helping the party win control of Parliament.
"A golden voice has passed," said Ramesh Deosoran, an independent senator and professor of criminology at the University of the West Indies.
Montano was a close ally of then Prime Minister Eric Williams, who led Trinidad to independence from Britain in 1962. Montano was appointed the twin-island nation's first home affairs minister and also served in several other Cabinet positions.
In a parliamentary tribute Tuesday, opposition Sen. Wade Mark praised Montano for his endurance in an "era of political and constitutional independence against forces of oppression and exploitation"
During his long career in public service, Montano also served as Trinidad's ambassador to Brazil, and was the first non-Venezuelan to receive the Order of the Liberator, Venezuela's highest honor.
Montano is survived by his wife, Gladys, and four adult children.
His funeral is scheduled for Thursday in the capital, AP reported. V.A.