Kazim Ali Jr

RADHICA DE SILVA

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A memorial for beloved diver Kazim Ali Jr is now underway at Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church in San Fernando.

In attendance are Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former labour Minister Rudranath Indarsingh and Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee. 

The service was promised by the Ali family as many of his friends and family could not attend his funeral.

As the song Amazing Grace began, mourners began singing heartily.

His friend Willow, who have known him since his high school days at St Benedict College, recalled how Ali Jr loved his family.

Willow said Ali fondly known as Beans had an excellent work ethic.

“Work was always a high priority. He was late during many limes for Christmas and Carnival. His love for work and impeccable work ethic gained him respect,” Willow said.

He added, “His love for family was undeniable. He was protective of his sisters and he always took the time to check in with them, whether they here in Trinidad or the UK.”

Willow said the past six years of Ali’s life were the best. This was when he married his wife Jamie and became a father.

His mother Catherine Ali recalled how much Ali Jr was loved.

“ Looking back at his 36 years and listening to the memories of his co-workers, friends and among ourselves, Kazi was a man who was living fully. I thank God for this blessing. He had kindness, wit and honour, people liked being around him. He showed up for them and they showed up for him,” Catherine said.

She added that the “tsunami of prayer” that the nation offered after the divers died, has supported the family through their ordeal.

“This energy has sustained me. A peace and frequency that I am grateful for. I have heard from the women of other divers’ families that the prayers have sustained them too,” Catherine said.

She thanked God that diver Christopher Boodram had survived. 

“We are grateful for that in this tragedy,” she added.

Catherine said the memorial allowed the family a deeper reflection of Kazim’s life.  

“Kazim’s passing in the pipeline has been part of the national conversation. May we work through our grief and loss, so we can stop cycles of woundings. May there be justice and inclusion and peace,” Catherine added.

Meanwhile, MP Lee offered condolences to the family. 

In a Whatsapp message shared with Guardian Media, he welcomed the stepping down of former Energy Chamber chairman Eugene Tiah to the state’s investigative committee on the Paria diving tragedy.

“Tiah stepping down is a good sign after the call was made by the Opposition leader to do so. He should have never accepted to serve given his relationship in the past with Minister Young,” Lee said.

He added, “I had sent a letter to Minister Colm Imbert, chair of the energy committee of parliament to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the entire Paria fiasco. He has committed to convene a meeting tomorrow,” Lee revealed. 

Ali Jr, whose father Kazim Ali, Sr owns LMCS, was taking footage inside the pipeline when the incident occurred. Three other divers Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar and Yusuff Henry also died in the accident on February 25.

Guardian Media will update this story.