Life and Times of ``ABDOOL AZIZ``
Former journalist and political activist Dhannasar Rampersad [Dan], during his 40-year career in the media, worked at 610 Radio, the Trinidad Express and the Bomb/Blast newspapers.
In addition to his career in the media, Dan was a political activist who served as chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation and on the Board of the PTSC. A former teacher at the Barrackpore Vedic School, Dan was a founding member of the Barrackpore Improvement Committee and the Apollo Sports Club. [b. circa 1941 to d Feb 2011]View all articles by Dan Rampersad
The Legend continues
‘Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.’
This verse taken from the writings of one of the great English poets, aptly describes the late ex-Councillor Abdool Aziz of Claude Street, La Romain. Such was his ‘life and times’ that this verse was perhaps written for him, centuries before his time.
He was un-ordinary, yet as ordinary as any good man could have been. He was generous, kind and always found the time to help his fellow man, sometimes at the inconvenience of even himself and his family.
He was a caring unofficial field naturalist; an avid hunter, but yet still a wild-life protector, and an unflinching ‘servant of the public’ whose civic callings and responsibilities knew no boundaries.
Aziz, started off as a salesman for Trinpad Limited of Marabella; and so dynamic and successful were his commitments to his job. It was not too long after that he became the Sales Manager with that Company. By then his name was fast becoming a household word throughout the South Land. He spared no effort to help the poor and the needy, even if it meant spending his own money, and taking up as much time as was needed.
So involved was he in the field of Community Service, that villagers wanted him to be their Local Government Representative. As an Independent Candidate; he beat both the Peoples National Movement (PNM) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP’s) Candidate Councillor Doodnath Maharaj: replacing him in the then Victoria County Council for the La Romain/Woodland/La Fortune District.
By then too, he had already organised the South Hunter’s Group (SHG). The SHG was founded on March 3, 1963. The first group of its kind; with a very large membership, and a powerful structure base. Among the membership were Lawyers Doctors, Police Officers, Businessmen, Teachers, Accountants and the ordinary Hunters. How he managed to kept that group active for all the years under his Stewardship, must be an achievement to envy.
The SHG was no `pick-up`side ! And it never had any once-a-year meeting before the start of the hunting season. There were monthly meetings, and during the `Closed Season’ the membership had to engaged in wildlife conversation and learning about the Wild Life Act, and other corresponding Legislative matters.
Now Aziz was in his element, He was `Head Hunter, Councillor, Sales Manager and a friend of all. He loved it, as he loved life. But although there are those who will claim that Aziz was a one-man show – there`s no doubt that the show was second to none. There was always his executive members who stood head and shoulders with him in the Hunter`s Group especially former MP Nazim Muradali and Officers of the Wildlife Section of the Ministry of Agriculture. He always has the support of his wife and children, as his house was the Official meeting venue.
Whenever the group hosted Christmas Dinner Parties, the `menu`was the most lavish `wild meat’ spread anyone could enjoy, this side of heaven.
Aziz also got involved in wildlife exhibitions at many primary schools, where he bought out the country`s flora and fauna and gave lectures etc.
Aziz also founded the Grenada Hunters Group where a former high ranking Government official Jerry Romain was in charge. In the late seventies, Aziz and other members took several agouti`s to that island to help increase the dwindling agouti population there.
Aziz was a formidable friend of the print and electronic media and was always a good and reliable news source. Among those who lined up with Aziz in the hunters` group were the late Milton Bertley, Nazim Muradali, Dan Rampersad, Zorina Shah, Edwin Brandt, Theron Boodan and many more.
During the restructuring of the Local Government Ministry in the early ninety’s and the establishment of the Regional Corporation, Aziz was elected to the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation where he served until his ill-health took its toll on him. Eventually his both legs were amputated and he had to use a wheel chair and crutches to move around.
As an honorary Game Warden he managed to patrol the forested areas with the help from other members with vehicles. He was also involved with the Land Tenants and Rate Payers Association, and was instrumental in getting Government to establish through the National Housing Authority, the Concord Road Lagoon Housing Settlement.
As Councillor, he spared no effort making representation for water, roads, electricity, street lighting and other amenities for his people, Old age Pension and Public Assistance.
Among others who were shoulder to shoulder with him in the early years were personalities like Neville Hilton Clarke, David Chin, Isaac Diljohn, Roy Jainanan, Anthony Mohipp, Sakaldip Singh, Insp. Ashook Toll, Randolph Burroughs, Mikey Mahabir, Harold Koylas, Harry Sharma and Harry P.T. Charlie.
Aziz was also very much into cultural and sporting activities and always ensured that all recreation grounds in his district were well serviced and maintained.
Of course he was a great cook, and ‘crack-shot’ with his doubled –barrel shot-gun. His home at Claude Street, La Romain was a victual `public assistance office`.
In party politics, former AG Karl Hudson-Phillips was his idol, but after the demise of the Organization for National Reconstruction (ONR) in 1981, he teamed up with Basdeo Panday where he remained loyal to his last day.
Ironically, though, the South Hunter`s Group had recommended their `President for Life` Abdool Isahak Aziz for a National Award in 1999, but failed to get the nod of the National Awards Committee.
Subsequently, it was the then Oropuche MP Trevor Sudama who said that ‘for his outstanding work in public life both in T&T and the wider Caribbean’, Aziz should have be given a Regional Award, befitting such a person.
Abdool Aziz is no longer. He passed away on February 10, 2004; and although he is dead, Long Live Abdool Aziz who at the time of his death held membership both financial and honorary in no fewer than 32 organisations, worldwide.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s not late for a posthumous National Award for the Head Hunter, Man of all Seasons; and whose footprints will remain in the sands of time. THE LEGEND CONTINUES -----