Former Science & Tertiary Minister Fazal Karim has died

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Former Science & Tertiary Minister Fazal Karim has died

Former Minister of Science and Tertiary Education in the Peoples Partnership government, Fazal Karim has died.

Karim was a PP Minister during the period 2010-2015.

His death was confirmed this morning, by his daughter Ria Karim.

According to reports, Karim died of lung cancer.
He died at Medical Associates Hospital, where he was being treated for fluid build up in his lungs.

Karim was also a former General Secretary of the United National Congress, and a member of parliament for Chaguanas – East.

In a statement, MP for Mayaro Rushton Paray said:
It is with profound sadness that I extend my heartfelt condolences on the passing of our esteemed colleague, Former Member of Parliament, Mr. Fazal Karim.

Serving alongside Mr. Karim during the 11th Parliament was a privilege, and his role as Minister of Science and Tertiary Education in the Persad Bissessar Administration showcased his unwavering commitment to advancing education.

Beyond the parliamentary chambers, Mr. Karim’s impact was far-reaching. A true scholar, he devoted himself to expanding both academic and skills training, leaving an indelible mark on the educational landscape. His prowess in parliamentary debates was matched only by his role as a mentor to young parliamentarians, imparting wisdom and guidance with grace.

His eloquence in expressing the journey of those of East Indian origins in Trinidad and Tobago, encapsulated in the phrase “from cutting cane to flying planes,” serves as a poignant reminder of the remarkable strides made by the community.

As we reflect on his legacy, I join all who mourn the loss of this exceptional individual.”

Karim leaves to mourn his wife of 47 years Apostle Dr. Judy Karim, children Rhonda, Ria and Rhion, Son-in-law Dr. Colin Samuel, daughter-in-law Zita Karim, and grandchildren Jordan, Christen, Christopher-Reign, Victoria and Ethan-John.

He was described by his family as a true servant of the people, dedicating his entire life to empowering citizens of all ages through education and skills training.

In a statement, they said he was especially passionate about elevating the status and recognition of vocational skills and worked tirelessly towards the “parity of esteem” of the sector, envisioning and pioneering the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) through CXC, the Workforce Assessment Centres, and many other innovative initiatives to provide widespread access to vocational education and training.

As an administrator, educator and community activist, he positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people across the region, constantly creating new programmes and projects to help people find pathways to employment and advancement, even while serving as an MP in Opposition. He has left an indelible mark on the lives, hearts and souls of our nation’s children, having removed barriers to access for educational and career advancement and making opportunities for learning widely available through his expansion of the GATE programme, UWI, UTT, COSTAATT, MIC, NESC and YTEPP.

He served as the Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training from May 2010 to September 2015, and Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Chaguanas East from September 2015 to August 2020, the CEO of the National Training Agency from 1999 – 2007, the CEO of YTEPP from 1997 – 1999, a Director and Board Member of several state agencies, coordinator of the UWI School of Continuing studies, lecturer and teacher for many years.

Fazal served at the right hand of Former Prime Minister, the Hon. Basdeo Panday as the General Secretary of the United National Congress from 2000 to 2010, as well as a Senator and Minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister the Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.