Newly-appointed mayor of San Fernando, Kazim Hosein, inspects a parade after the swearing-in ceremony yesterday of mayor, aldermen and deputy mayor of the San Fernando City Corporation.
Photo courtesy Trinidad Guardian
Outgoing mayor of San Fernando Dr Navi Muradali was given a standing ovation at the swearing-in yesterday of a new mayor and council as he sent a strong message to leaders of all political parties to change the national conversation if they wanted to attract upstanding citizens to the politics.
The ten-minute farewell speech by Muradali, in which he decried the vulgarity and obscenity which now passed for politics, received sustained applause from the packed city auditorium.
In addition to the new mayor, Kazim Hosein, three others were elected as aldermen—deputy mayor Junia Regrello, Vidia Mungal-Bissessar and attorney Kevin Rattiram, the lone COP alderman. Muradali said seven years ago he left his lucrative medical practice to get involved in politics to make a difference but when he thought the country was uniting on issues it had just descended into garbage and nothingness.
“Seven years later,” he said, “it is really disheartening to know that in 2013, the national conversation in this country leaves a lot to be desired.” He told political leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley and Congress of the People (COP) chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, who were in the audience: “What I have witnessed in the local government elections and even before that will not motivate the young people and the young professionals to get into politics.”
Amidst sustained applause, he added: “It saddens me that a young child could sit with his/her parents to watch television and see what parades itself as politics in this country.
You, as a political leader and as chairman, I hope you take the message back to your respective parties and I also appeal to the Prime Minister, as leader of her party, and leader of the Independent Liberal Party that the country at this point in time, we do not want to see what is being displayed night-after-night.
“The national conversation must change. It requires us to sit down to reflect and to respect each other. At the end of the day we want respect.” Hosein said he was proud, humbled and privileged to have been given that task and pledged to uphold his oath of office. He said he intended in the next term to embrace the diversity, rather than concentrate on the differences.
Among his first order of business, he said, was to remove the mayor’s office from the top floor of City Hall to a lower floor so the differently abled and elderly could have access to him.