Jarrette Narine remembered for humility, service

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of Jarette Narines family perform his funeral according to Hindu rites at his home on Church Street, Samaroo Village, Arimam, on Thursday. – Roger Jacob

JARRETTE NARINE, former minister of local government and of agriculture, was fondly remembered by family members, friends and political colleagues for his humility and dedication for his public service on a local and national scale.

His funeral was held on Thursday under Hindu rites at his home in Samaroo Village, Arima.

Narine, 78, died on Monday, and is lovingly remembered as the husband of Grace Narine; father of Inshan, Naresh, Navin, Kamla and Kavita; grandfather of six: and great-grandfather of one.

Officiating pundit Totaram Maharaj said Narine was a gentleman and a very dutiful person who had led as righteous life, fulfilling his duty to his country and family. Saying Narine’s life had produced a lot of good karma, the pundit said he had been very caring, very giving, very sincere, very humble and very respectable. Maharaj said everyone should follow Narine’s lead to live life in such a way that upon death, they leave the world a better place.

In his closing remarks later, he urged well-wishers to remember the family in the days to come and check up on them with visits or phone calls.

The eulogy was given by Narine’s son Navin Narine, who recalled that as a young man Narine’s first-ever job had been as a stores hand in the Ministry of Agriculture, where, 30 years later, he returned as the minister. He had served as deputy secretary general of the NUGFW, served as MP and minister, and been married for 56 years.

Navin said his father was “a humble and caring man” and “an awesome husband and father” who had raised his children with respect and morality.

“Your legacy will live forever. You will be missed.”

Parliamentarians present included Attorney General Reginald Armour, Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales, Minister of Youth Development Foster Cummings, and Senator Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing.

Family members and friends of the late Jarette Narine bear his coffin to its final resting place during his funeral at the Caroni Cremation Site on Thursday. Photo by Roger Jacob

Energy Minister Stuart Young delivered condolences on behalf of the Prime Minister and government. He told Narine’s children their father had served well and left a blazing trail for young people to follow. Young thanked the family for lending Narine to the nation as a councillor, and then MP and minister, until his retirement in 2007. Narine had done well and left “a hell of a legacy” for others to follow.

“We are eternally grateful.”

Minister in the Ministry of Education Lisa Morris-Julian brought some personal recollections of Narine, recalling his loud voice by quipping, “You would hear him before you see him,” but also pointing out his tenderness to his wife, whom he would always take time to check on at official functions. “We will not forget all that he did for us,” the former Arima mayor vowed.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert related that he and Dr Rowley had seen Narine speaking passionately on a PNM platform for local government elections in 1987 and agreed, “This fellow is due for an upgrade.”

Soon after, Narine was selected as MP for Arouca North.

He then related that a couple of years after the 1990 attempted coup, two burly men had visited the Ministry of Works and Transport, which Imbert then headed, assisted by Narine, and asked to run the URP programme. He bemusedly recalled that Narine had dismissed the men, simply telling them, “It’s okay. Your services won’t be required.”

Soon after Narine was upgraded to full Cabinet-minister rank, Imbert said.

He remembered Narine as a man very connected to his religion, with an uncle having been the Dharmacharya,spiritual head of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabh.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan said he had been very close to Narine’s family. He said Narine had started out in politics in 1983, leading to his serving TT for 24 years.

He said while some politicians ended up serving only themselves, Narine had served the people.

He said Narine regularly attended funerals, where he would often play a dholak and sing into a mike.

Saying Narine still helped the Government after retiring by contributing to talks on Vision 2020, Sinanan declared, “Jarette, thank you for your service to TT.”

After the service, talking to Newsday, former Arima MP and mayor Ashton Forde hailed Narine’s dedication to his constituents, saying the yard of the family’s home had been like a community centre, with crowds of people visiting to take part in activities. Many dozens were also present there for the funeral.