Rural Development and Local Government Minister Haji Kazim Hosein used the platform of the San Fernando City Civic Reception on Saturday night to send a message to politicians who turn their backs on the people that elected them, that it is wrong.
He called on his colleagues, both at the level of Central Government and Local Government, to be humble and honest in their profession.
Asserting that it is an asset to be a politician, Hosein said, “We must not be corrupt, we must be fair and honest and humble in all our undertakings.”
The guest speaker at the event commemorating the 29th anniversary of San Fernando receiving city status, Hosein warned that anyone caught in corruption would face the consequences.
He told the audience which included host Mayor Junia Regrello and PNM deputy political leader Joan Yuille Williams, that he had uncovered many instances of corruption in the ministry he now leads, and his political leader and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has made it clear that those engaged in corrupt practice, including those in the party would feel the full brunt of the law.
Pointing out that politics is temporary and that when one enters service one’s actions must not be for self but rather for country, Hosein asserted that as former Mayor of San Fernando he never engaged in any underhand practice nor did he do anything to advance himself.
In his new dispensation as minister, he assured, “I am not here to serve myself. It is all about the people, giving back. This office we have, all of us have, is to use it to better the people and country. It is a temporary office.”
To this end, he said, he had seen too many politicians get carried away by the power of holding office and turn their backs on those who elected them.
“For far too long I have been seeing people (politicians) being nice in the last two weeks before a general election or a local election.
“When they get into office they not answering their phones. They are winding up their glass (windows of their cars) so they can’t see you.”
Hosein, who has earned the title of being ‘Mr Humble’, said it is an asset to be a politician and politicians like others, must embrace their religion. He said this is a most important factor in being honest, fair and humble, but it is what is lacking in society.
Acknowledging that his humility is his strength, Regrello presented Hosein with a special award, which moved the minister to say, “there is a first time for everything. This is the first award I have ever received.”
Hosein said he was forced by his father, Rakeeb Hosein, also a former San Fernando Mayor, to join the People’s National Movement (PNM) when he was a form one student at Naparima College. He also paid tribute to the late Prime Minister Patrick Manning whom he said laid the foundation for him to enter politics.
Hosein said in the 40 years he has been a member of the PNM, his only ambition was to be a chairman of a constituency party group. He said every time one of the elders in the party died, he thought he would get the chance.