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Dennis Davidson – A Vincentian legend

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02.JUN.06

EDITOR: Dennis Davidson has died. To my generation of schoolboys, Dennis was a little fella, with a smiling face, full of jokes and ‘ole’ talk. Inevitably we all called him Dennis the Menace.

He was the third son of Raffi Davidson, carnival bandleader par excellence, barber and gambling parlour operator. None of us at the time imagined how these activities would impact on Dennis.{{more}}

The family resided on Bay Street opposite to the Anglican School. He emigrated to Trinidad and died there. What was amazing was his lifestyle. But we let Trinidad Express take up the story:

Dennis Davidson, the flamboyant insurance executive who was once branded by police as the country’s most wanted man for his involvement in a multi-million dollar foreign exchange racket in the 1980s, is dead.

Davidson, 62, was known also for his lavish parties at his Valsayn residence where he often hosted businessmen, government officials and sports personalities.

In 1980s Davidson climbed to the heights of the insurance industry and won membership of the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table in 1982 after selling over $40 million in insurance. Attorney Bindra Dolsingh, a former friend, said the political contacts Davidson had cultivated propelled him on his way up in the insurance business.

As the country’s oil boom faded later in the mid-1980s, and the economy plummeted, strict foreign exchange regulations were introduced to conserve depleting US dollars reserves. Davidson capitalized on the weakness of the system which required applications forms – the EC1 and EC0. He was later charged for conspiracy to defraud the Government of Trinidad by forging several exchange control forms and getting over US$100 million approved. This was later resold to businessmen hungry for vital US dollars. The fraud was called the EC-Zero racket.

With police hot on his heels, Davidson fled the country in 1987, and Interpol was called in to locate him. After months of searching, Davidson was held after failing to stop at a red light in Orlando, Florida.

But, upon his return Davidson was successfully defended by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

Davidson who had 13 children, died at the Mount Hope Medical Complex yesterday at 5:40 a.m. after suffering a stroke. He had been readmitted to hospital after having a heart attack and a stroke two weeks before.

His daughter La Toya Davidson-Waldron, 31, said she was proud to have him as her father: “He was the best. You know everyone has their own issues. He was my best friend. We were business partners, my confidante, liming partner. We got along great. My kids love him.”

(from the Trinidad Express)

M.I.

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