Jamal Mohammed, nephew of former government minister Kamaluddin Mohammed, says he is shocked and dismayed over the omission of his uncle's name from this year's Independence Day awards ceremony. Jamal said his uncle was formally nominated to receive the nation's highest award–the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As far as Jamal was concerned, the nomination was properly prepared and submitted on time to the relevant committee.
Jamal added, "These national awards have been designed to recognise those citizens of our country who have dedicated their lives in the service of Trinidad and Tobago. "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. "By rejecting his nomination, a number of questions come to mind:
�2 Was his nomination received and considered by the awards committee?
�2 If not, why not?
�2 If his nomination was considered and approved, was it forwarded to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for final approval?
�2 If not, why not?
�2 If his nomination was forwarded to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, was it considered?
�2 If the Prime Minister and his Cabinet received the nomination, what possible rationale could there be to refuse the nomination?
�2 Is it true that only friends of the Prime Minister and the PNM receive awards?
�2 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.
�2 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?
�2 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.
�2 What else must one do to deserve a national award?