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Wednesday 26 September 2018
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New UNC senator Saddam: Don’t fear me

From left, Taharqa Obika, Saddam Hosein and Anita Haynes, after they were sworn-in as Opposition Senators yesterday in the Upper House.
From left, Taharqa Obika, Saddam Hosein and Anita Haynes, after they were sworn-in as Opposition Senators yesterday in the Upper House.

He was named after infamous dictator Iraqi president Saddam Hussain, but newly appointed Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein said the country has nothing to fear from him as he vowed to uphold democracy in Parliament.

Hosein, 26, an attorney in the Office of the Director of Pubic Prosecutions (DPP) was born in 1991, the year US former president George H Bush drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Of his name Saddam, Hosein related, “That name actually originated with my grandmother. She would have been the one who gave me that name. I was born in 1991 when all the activities were happening with that famous person...”

Had his naming been inspired by Saddam Hussain? “I would say she was inspired. She has her reasons for giving me that name.” Having no older relatives named Saddam, Hosein said he soon figured out where his name came from.

Asked if he gets reaction to his famous name, Hosein laughed and said, “All the time. That had prompted your first question.” Asked how he handles that, he said, “The name is just a label but (what really matters) is the personality that comes with the character.”

Asked if he will unleash any dictatorial powers in Parliament as per his namesake, Hosein laughed and said, “Not at all. I’m in the seat of democracy now.

I hope my contributions are well received by the public. They will be well researched and comprehensive. They will address a lot of youth issues and reform of the criminal justice system.” “It was a pleasure to be appointed to the Senate at this young age; I’m only 26.”

He thanked Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for giving him the chance to bring a youthful input to the Senate to create a needed change in the country.

He said exiting the DPP’s Office now means he is serving TT in a different capacity. Also sworn in as Opposition Senators yesterday were UNC PRO Anita Haynes, 30, and economist Taharqa Obika, 34.

Haynes said, “I hope to bring a fresh perspective, building the best country that we can.” Obika thanked Persad-Bissessar for the privilege of his appointment. His work in developmental issues had included Republic Bank’s acquisition in Ghana, and he saw the senatorship as a continuation of such service.

Asked him sporting a tie of Ghanian fabric, he said it symbolises that in TT every creed and race finds an equal place. “The United National Congress being a united party I just thought it would be good to add that flavour.” He said he and his father Nyahuma Obika (formerly of NJAC) were both UNC members.

“I recently joined.” He said that since 2010 when his father was a Point Fortin candidate he had been around the UNC, and for the subsequent candidate’s campaign. “I’ve been consistent in being in harmony with the concept of people-based governance of the UNC.”

He said his focus would be getting politics back to the people. Opposition Senator Wade Mark said there was no anomisity from former senator Wayne Sturge who was replaced.


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