Dr. The Honourable Kamaluddin Mohammed, OCC
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
Dr. The Honourable Kamaluddin Mohammed is a former Trinidadian Cabinet Minister and former ambassador
Early life and education
Kamaluddin 'Kamal" Mohammed was born on 19 April 1927 at El Socorro not far from where he lives today in Mohammedville, surrounded by the Mohammed clan, the fifth of a family of 13 that included well-known cultural icons in their own right, Sham and Moen. Their parents, Fazal Mohammed and Khajiman Kartoum, were the children of Indian indentured labourers.
From his childhood, Kamal was surrounded by religion and culture, which he credits for the sound family values, discipline and respect for authority that he has passed on to his children and his extended family.
At an early age he became versed in Islamic teachings and was fluent in Arabic, Hindi, Farsi and Urdu. By 1947, at age 20, he became Imam at the Mosque at Queen Street, Port of Spain after impressing skeptics with his brilliance as a theologian.
In 1953, at the age of 26, Kamal entered politics, winning a seat in the Community Council elections of February of that year. He was soon to be named Chairman of the Council. Events flowed quickly thereafter. In 1954 he met Dr. Eric Williams who subsequently became the leader of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for virtually the next quarter century. Williams was to play a decisive role in Kamal’s further development.
Kamal entered Parliament in 1956, where he became the youngest Government Minister in the British Commonwealth when he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries. He also served as the Minister Foreign Affairs, and assisted in pioneering the movement from CARIFTA to CARICOM and later pioneered the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME).
Mohammed was also the first non-Caucasian to be chair of the United Nations’ World Health Assembly for two terms. The Mt Hope Complex and Maternity Hospital were both built also under his watch.
After 30 years with the PNM and after he retired, he was returned to active service by former prime minister Basdeo Panday who appointed him Caricom ambassador during the UNC’s tenure from 1991-1995.
Up until his death, Mohammed had been the last surviving member of the country’s very first PNM cabinet of 1956.
Honours and Awards
Kamaluddin Mohammed was the recipient of the Order of the Caribbean Community, conferred in 2012. In 2010, he has received Trinidad and Tobago's highest national award, the Order of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2011 he was received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of the West Indies.
Mohammed was married and the father of six.
Kamaluddin Mohammed died Tuesday, 1 December 2015. Last rites Janaza prayers were held for Mohammed at the Nur E Islam Mosque, El Socorro, at 4.30 pm on Wednesday, 2 December 2015. Mohammed, 88 had been ailing for the previous two years.