What is behind rejection of Minister Kamal’s nomination for TT National Award

Kamaluddin Mohammed (ra)
Port of Spain, Trinidad:  Trinidad & Tobago authorities again failed to take the opportunity presented by the annual Independence Day Award’s to recognize and acknowledge the service of the Honourable former Minister of Government Kamaluddin Mohammed’s to Trinidad & Tobago, the Caribbean Region and the World.  Speaking to the Trinidad Guardian, Jamal Mohammed, nephew of former PNM Government Minister Kamaluddin Mohammed, “If ever there was someone who deserves a national award—and the highest award, too—it must be Kamaluddin Mohammed. “For over 56 years, more than half of his life, he has dedicated his time to the service of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”

It seems that the Manning administration is willing to adopt the policy prescriptions of old PNM, while rejecting those who served old PNM loyally and some would say blindly.

Mr Jamal posed some pertinent questions that follows on from this rejection of the nomination of Mr. Kamaluddin’s nomination.  As reported in the Trinidad Guardian, he asked:

Was his nomination received and considered by the awards committee?
• If not, why not?
• If his nomination was considered and approved, was it forwarded to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for final approval?
• If not, why not?
• If his nomination was forwarded to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, was it considered?
• If the Prime Minister and his Cabinet received the nomination, what possible rationale could there be to refuse the nomination?
• Is it true that only friends of the Prime Minister and the PNM receive awards?
• Remember 1981? When Dr Williams died, Uncle Kamal was supposed to be appointed Prime Minister, since he was the most-qualified and experienced Member of Parliament at the time.
• Uncle Kamal was not appointed for reasons unknown to all, but understood by all. Was the same rationale that was used in 1981 re-used in 2009 to deny Uncle Kamal his national award?
• What message are we sending to our younger generation? Uncle Kamal has given his life for Trinidad and Tobago, yet his country—Trinidad and Tobago—represented by the Government, the State, Patrick Manning administration refuses to recognise his contribution.
• What else must one do to deserve a national award?

Dr. Eric William’s in his speech on the first Independence Day said “Whatever the challenge that faces you, from whatever quarter, place always first that national interest and the national cause. The strength of the Nation depends on the strength of its citizens.”  It seems that his successor Mr. Patrick Manning is unable to rise above the narrow confines his own hubris to display magnanimity that would firmly establish a national narrative that is inclusive rather than current one that has the result of national divide along electoral lines.  Will the electioneering stop long enough to build a national consciousness?

Speaking to the Trinidad Express Mr Kamaluddin Mohammed said yesterday that he was a humble man, who did not want anything “once the people recognise me”.

The Trinidad Express reports that “Mr. Mohammed declined to comment on the fact that he received no national award despite being nominated by the National Council of Indian Culture. “It (the awards) was in the hands of the committee and the Prime Minister and if they didn’t want to (give an award), I can do nothing about it,” he said, adding that he was grateful to those who nominated him.

Mr. Kamaluddin Mohammed has the right attitude, nevermind what Mr. Patrick Manning does or does not do with his discretion on the national awards, it’s his prerogative.   The legacy of a track record of service to humanity will serve us all better in the court of the real King of the Universe on the Day of Judgment.  Awards in this life is great to get, but rewards in the next is greater, and God does not allow an atom of good works go to waste.  He is Merciful as He is Just.

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