The Checklist. continues its personal profiles of UNC members by profiling Chaguanas West MP, Dinesh Rambally. Kamla Phagoo interviews him.
Throughout your life, what has been your main source of inspiration, or your main source of strength to take on the challenges you have faced?
I’m always inspired by the power of simplicity. Simple family get-togethers, simple interactions with people, simple conversations – these things that are huge pillars of support in life’s journeys. Everyday I see, in the people around me, the sheer power of determination, the relentless pursuit of solutions for any problem they may have, and the willingness to work with each other for a better outcome. People remain a huge source of strength and inspiration for me.
You are a pundit, something a lot of people do not know about you. If you had to send a message to youths, what will that be?
My message to the youths would be: “You are tomorrow, and it will be here before you know it! So get prepared. Take your studies seriously but find time to laugh and play. Adults may be boring to you, but they are a great source of wisdom. Listen to that.”
What inspired you to become a politician?
Well, more than being inspired to become a politician, I was inspired to help people. Politics is a vehicle for that. I don’t always succeed in all the things I want to get done – the problems are many, and overwhelmingly. But I feel happy to know that I working towards helping as many people as I possibly can. That fuels me.
Has there been a particular struggle that has defined your life’s journey? Why this struggle?
Many, actually. But of recent vintage, it would be the fight to have open air cremation for Covid-19 victims reinstated. This was a struggle with huge significance for me simply because it irked me as a lawyer that constitutional rights were being unjustifiably infringed. It irked me as a Hindu to see millennia-old tradition so causally put on pause without justification. But above all, it irked me as a human being to see so many helpless people being financially and otherwise burdened with this senseless regulation. People were suffering deeply in this regard, and they were voiceless and helpless. For me, life is about standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. This cremation struggle was an example of that.
Are there any hidden talents or skills you would like to share with us?
I sometimes think I am an avid footballer, until I am sadly outmatched by the teenagers I sometimes play with. I enjoy outdoor sports and music, but wouldn’t quite elevate that to having to skills and talents. This is meant to be humorous unless you think otherwise
– Kamla Phagoo
Secretary of the Public and Publicity Standing Committee.