Senators pay tribute to late colleagues Chow, Ali

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Alwin Chow, photographed in 1989. Chow, an accountant, found himself on the frontlines of the media. – Photo by Mark Lyndersay

GOVERNMENT, opposition and independent senators paid tribute to former independent senators Alwin Chow and Basharat Ali, at the Senate’s first sitting for the year on Tuesday.

Chow died on December 9 and Ali on December 24.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark said, “I never had the privilege or the opportunity of meeting the former senator (Chow).”

Mark added he first knew of Chow as a trade unionist, representing workers at the Trinidad Guardian, when Chow was its managing director

He said the records of Chow’s senatorial tenure from November 297, 1981-October 29, 1986, showed Chow made sterling contributions. “Alwin Chow was a good soul.”

Goverment Senator Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing said Chow was responsible for ushering the local media into the modern age.

“He was a distinguished captain of industry.”

Lezama-Lee Sing said Chow was a fervent advocate for freedom of the press. She agreed with Mark about Chow’s robust contributions to matters in the Senate and various parliamentary committees he served on.

“His was a tremendous contribution on the national landscape.”

Independent Senator Paul Richards was grateful for the opportunity to have had Chow as a mentor when he was a journalist.

“He was a mentor to many in the media.”

He was also grateful to know Chow’s wife, former Miss Universe Janelle “Penny” Commissiong-Chow. Paul recalled that Carnival parties at Chow’s home were exceptional events and Chow was the consummate host.

Senate President Christine Kangaloo also acknowledged Chow’s contribution to the development of the media. She said it was difficult to encapsulate the person Chow was and his contribution to national life in narrow spaces.

In paying tribute to Ali, Mark said they sat close to each other in the Senate for many years.

“He was a humble, decent, civil individual.”

Minister in the Agriculture Ministry Avinash Sawh recalled Ali as a non-partisan, brilliant and a true gentleman.

Independent Senator Deoroop Teemul said Ali contributed to debate on many important pieces of legislation, such as the Kidnapping Bill 2003 and the Anti-Gang Bill 2010.

Kangaloo said, “His voice on energy matters held tremendous sway.”

Ali, she continued, was someone who had tremendous knowledge but was always gentle and dignified in his interactions with people from all walks of life.