Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 3rd 2015 Contents A5
Thursday, December 3, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Imam Sharif Ali says while there is much talk
about ISIS and jihad in the world today, the life
of former PNM founding member Kamalludin
Mohammed s was also a jihad.
He was speaking at yesterday s funeral service
for Mohammed at the Nur-e-Islam Mosque, El
Socorro. He was the last surviving member of the
country s first Cabinet which was led by then prime
minister Dr Eric Williams in 1956
Mohammed died at his nearby El Socorro home
at 10.30 pm on Tuesday at the age of 88. He was
ailing for several months from a urinary tract prob-
Among those who attended the service were
acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert, Health Minister
Terrence Deyalsingh, House Speaker Bridgid
Annisette-George, Senate President Christine Kan-
galoo, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, former
minister Winston Dookeran and Mohammed s wife,
Salima, and children.
Imam Ali said in Mohammed s life "we saw a
struggle for equality, a struggle for a better standard
of life for the people of T&T and even beyond."
He said Mohammed "helped his family, com-
munity, the masjid. He was a man who worked
tirelessly to be in service of humanity and this is
jihad as well."
He added: "This is not jihad of the sword but
this is the jihad of the pen; it is not the jihad of
the bullet but it is the jihad of the tongue."
He said that jihad was carried out while serving
the country as a Government minister since 1956
to 1986 and even after.
Imbert, who was asked to speak at the service
as he arrived, said Mohammed "was a great man.
Mohammed was awarded the country s highest
award, the Order of T&T, the Order of the Caribbean
Community and an honorary doctorate in laws
from the University of the West Indies.
In extending condolences to the Mohammed
family, Imbert said he "was a true son of the soil
and we all mourn his passing."
Panday, who appointed Mohammed as ambas-
sador for Caricom when he served as prime minister
in the late 1990s, yesterday told reporters the former
PNM minister was a very good speaker.
Panday explained that he gave Mohammed the
job even though he was PNM "because I think he
was the best man for the job. He was Mr Cari-
Panday said Mohammed "has convinced me of
one thing, that in politics there are no permanent
enemies and there are no permanent friends."
He said he would always remember Mohammed
for a comment he made in Parliament because it
annoyed him. Panday said it was when Kamal
described Opposition MPs as "lagoon politicians."
Deyalsingh said Mohammed s death was a great
loss to the nation as he was "a man who served
God and his country, T&T." Deyalsingh said he
would always remember Mohammed for the advice
he gave him during the 2013 by election in St Joseph.
He said Mohammed told him to "be humble."
Yasin Abu Bakr also attended the service. He
was greeted by many as her arrived. Many were
seen in tears as they paid their final respects.
Political legend, cultural icon, mentor
Those were among tributes which have
poured in for longstanding political and
cultural figure Dr Kamaluddin "Charch"
Mohammed who died Tuesday night and
who was laid to rest yesterday at the El
Last rites Janaza prayers were held for
Mohammed at the Nur E Islam Mosque,
El Socorro, at 4.30 pm yesterday.
Mohammed, 88, who had been ailing
for the last two years, had been hospitalised
at Mt Hope Hospital at various points,
family members said.
Yesterday, the National Security Min-
istry instructed that national flags be
flown at half mast---denoting the nation
was in mourning--- in observance of the
passing of the former PNM Cabinet min-
ister and PNM deputy leader.
"T&T has lost a great legend and an
icon,he was the last of the Mohicans, so
to speak," his son Alimuddin said in an
"We thank everyone for the flood of
condolences which have been pouring in
since his death. We, his family, would
like to carry out some of his traditions.
His life and his work were guided by the
discipline of his religion which assisted
his success," he said.
Mohammed s niece, Nafeesa
Mohammed, added: "Uncle Kamal s pass-
ing marks the end of an era. He was the
family patriarch and many of us in the
family have learnt from him and his life
and the inspiration he has provided to
the family. Everyone has always looked
up to him.
"As we say farewell to him, may he be
blessed and Allah reward him richly for
the good he has done in his lifetime. His
life epitomised service to community. For
him politics was about service to the peo-
"There are many lessons to be learnt
from his life, from politics and culture to
religion. He was a humble man who served
with deep humility."
Up until his death, Mohammed had
been the last surviving member of the
country s very first PNM cabinet of 1956.
A condolence book has been opened
at PNM s Balisier House headquarters,
Port-of-Spain and is open from 9 am to
Mohammed had served T&T for over
60 years at various levels, from politics
and religion to culture, including broad-
casting, and was regarded as a mentor by
His public service began as an imam
with the Jaamah Masjid, his son said.
Mohammed entered politics in 1953
with community council elections. After
meeting Dr Eric Williams in 1954, he
assisted in founding the PNM in 1956
A key figure in the Williams PNM
administration he was a one-time
Barataria MP and also served as minister
in a number of portfolios from Agriculture,
Public Utilities and External Affairs to
West Indian Affairs, Local Government
Mohammed s son said his father had
been the first non-caucasian to be chair
of the United Nations World Health
Assembly for two terms. The Mt Hope
Complex and Maternity Hospital were
both built also under his watch.
After 30 years with the PNM and after
he retired, he was returned to active service
by former prime minister Basdeo Panday
who appointed him Caricom ambassador
during the UNC s tenure from 1991-1995.
Mohammed was honoured during the
PP administration s tenure, receiving the
Order of T&T and honorary doctorate
awards. He was also presented with the
Order of Caricom by the regional body.
Mohammed s son said in recent years
"Charch" continued to be active in reli-
gion, giving lectures and advice.
Mohammed who was fifth in a family
of 13 attended the Canadian Mission
School in El Socorro, going on to win a
scholarship to Osmond High School.
Mohammed and many of his relatives
who lived close by in one area were also
known for their family location:
His wife, 80, and six children, survive
Political legend dies Imam: Kamal's life
was the true jihad
House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George, left, and Senate President, Christine Kangaloo,
during the funeral service for PNM stalwart Kamaluddin Mohammed at the Nur-E-Islam
mosque, El Socorro, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
PRIME MINISTER DR KEITH ROWLEY
"During his illustrious life Dr Mohammed
distinguished himself on the political landscape
as a founding member of the PNM, Member of
Parliament and a Government Minister in
various ministries as well as an ambassador.
"Dr Mohammed's contribution to the
development of T&T is evident and our nation is
grateful for his laudable contribution. His
commitment to our nation has been
outstanding and exemplary and we hope that it
will continue to serve as an inspiration to
others in this regard. On behalf of the
Government and people of T&T, I sincerely
express deep condolences to all his loved ones.
"He was a great patriot who personified service.
He was also a leading member of the Islamic
community who dedicated his life to serving his
community and T&T, both as a senior cabinet
minister and citizen Kamal. T&T has suffered a
great loss. Many will remember him for service
to country and communities.
"'Charch', as he was fondly known, was the
most trusted confidante of Dr Eric Williams but
when Dr Williams died in 1981 he was by-
passed in favour of George Chambers to
succeed Dr Williams.
"Dr Mohammed stayed out of active politics
until Prime Minister Basdeo Panday summoned
him to national service and appointed him
Caricom ambassador. He was later honoured
with Caricom's highest award. My government
also awarded him T&T's highest national award,
The Order of T&T." --- See Page A10
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