Attorney, 29, sworn-in as alderman in PoS Corporation

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

I SWEAR: Attorney Kareem Marcelle is sworn-in as an alderman at the Port of Spain City Corporation on February 29. – Photo courtesy Port of Spain City Corporation Facebook

ATTORNEY Kareem Marcelle, 29, says he is humbled and honoured to become one of the youngest aldermen in Trinidad and Tobago.

Marcelle was sworn in on February 29 as an alderman in the Port of Spain City Corporation (POSCC).

His appointment was made after Dr Knogshiek Achong Low resigned last month with immediate effect.

Dr Achong Low did not publicly reveal the reason for his resignation.

Speaking at his swearing-in, Marcelle of Beetham Gardens said he intends to bring a youthful perspective to the issues facing the corporation and, in particular, the communities of East Port of Spain.

“Along the way, I’ll be able to better advocate for young persons, for persons from impoverished communities.”

Describing the POSCC as “a unique blend,” Marcelle noted the issues facing Woodbrook and St James are unlikely to be the same issues burgesses in areas such as Sea Lots, Nelson Street, Duncan Street and Bath Street experience.

“I think that I’m able to bring that perspective from a community similar in nature relative to when compared to Nelson Street and so on and to be able to positively impact the lives of our young people.”

He said while he does not want to step on anyone’s toes, he is hoping he can advocate to serve the interests of at-risk youth within the corporation’s borders.

“We have the city is plagued with at-risk youth who (are affected by) robberies in Port of Spain or the different shooting and gang violence and so on.

“My aim – and it doesn’t stop or is limited to the POSCC – is to reach to those at-risk youth and see how best we can assist and make some changes as it relates to our risk communities and our at-risk youth. That is my core focus just in general and in life, to make these at-risk communities in a better place than we meet it.”

Marcelle’s mother Sherma Wilson also served as an alderman but in the San Juan Laventille Regional Corporation.

He said despite this, it was never his plan to follow in her footsteps so soon, particularly as he never considered himself an optimist.

“It wasn’t a dream or goal relative to first jumping into the political landscape at this age but an opportunity arose. The prime minister asked me to serve and I answered his call. But it was indeed a humbling experience to know that I was even being considered.”

“I’m very reserved relative to opportunities. But I do know that what is for you is for you. It may not come at the time that you want, it may not come at the time that somebody else wants, but when Jehovah God says it’s your time, then it’s your time.”

Marcelle said he hoped to be an example to the people in his community and other young people across the country who may face difficult circumstances daily.

He said young people in “so-called hotspots” see the lifestyles of “community leaders” and aspire to have the money, cars and respect they have.

Marcelle said he is hoping to show these young people that these can all be attained another way.

“What myself and so many other young, positive persons in our community who are engineers, doctors, footballers and netballers are battling with is to show that we too can achieve great things. That we can do so by walking the right path, being law-abiding citizens, working hard, being dedicated, honest and honourable.”

He said while he does not consider himself a role model, he hopes to inspire others to surpass his achievements.

“I’m flawed because I’m a human being like everybody else, but at least I’m able to show a positive outlook for young people in my community. I hope that I can inspire even younger persons than me, to be better than me, to achieve what I achieved at 29 years.

“I hope that there are other young persons from Nelson Street who can achieve this and much more at age 23 or 22.”

Marcelle thanked his mother and the rest of the Beetham Gardens community for their role in his success.

“They say that it takes a community to raise a child. And I see myself being raised and being lifted and being loved and being protected by a community. Not just a physical community of Beetham Gardens, but a national community that has rallied for me and rooted for me.”

“So I will continue to pay forward, I will continue to create opportunities for young persons in my family, in my community, and in the country across the board.”