Tajmool Hosein of revered memory was a simple and private person. He never wanted to be in the limelight, and his journey into politics was a divine inspiration and not for personal gain.
I had the honour to conduct the last interview with this esteemed gentleman at his home in Coblentz Gardens, St Ann's, Port of Spain. At the end of a two-hour interview, his parting words to me were, "I did not enter politics for any gain. I recognised that I had a part to play, and so I decided to emerge from silence to service."
He was then 91, still vocal and articulate in many ways. What amused me was his memory, which was fertile as the days he stood before learned judges and slowly presented the intricacies of constitutional law. With calm and dignity.
Hosein never shouted at anyone. With a slight grin, he would make his point without any bitterness. He was firm in his belief that there were enough people making enough noises, and there must be other ways of getting across one's point of view.
His entry into politics was not for gain because he had a lucrative legal practice that earned him enough to look after his family. During his tenure as a senior attorney, he had turned down several offers to occupy some of the highest positions in the legal field. "I am an advocate by training and legal administration never attracted me," he said. By that, he meant he had no ambition to leave the bar and sit on the bench.
Hosein was thorough. He never sanctioned or approved anything unless he read the document twice and, sometimes, three times. This much I realised while I was interviewing him on the part he played at the Marlborough Conference in London, England, in 1962, which was a forerunner to the Independence of Trinidad and Tobago.
Up to the time of his death, he was the only one who could accurately tell the story of what was involved in writing Trinidad and Tobago's first Independence Constitution. With an infectious grin, he would only say, "Well, I played my part, not as a politician but as one who believed in the importance of having a Constitution that protects everyone."
Hosein could easily be called the father-giver of Trinidad's Independence, simply because there was a period of uncertainty among the Opposition members who went to London.
Lionel Frank Seukeran aptly described the part played by Hosein in the following words, "I was proud of Tajmool. He was a man of few words but one of the greatest constitutional lawyers in the hemisphere. He became uncharacteristically vocal as he sought amendment and modification of various clauses. The British lawyers were astounded by his perspicacity and articulation."
It was Hosein and Peter Farquhar, another member of the delegation to London, who spent a whole night in preparing the speech the Opposition wanted him to read at the opening of the conference. At the end of the speech, Capildeo got the praise that was truly Hosein's.
Dr Eric Williams, then chief minister of Trinidad and Tobago, was very appreciative of the part played by the Opposition but in particular Hosein, so much so that Hosein was appointed by Williams to serve on the legal committee that dealt with the Independent Representation in the Senate.
Hosein was always proud that he was born in Williamsville in south Trinidad on November 14, 1921. He received his legal training at Lincoln's Inn in London. He was awarded a certificate of honour and Buchanan Prize, then called to the Bar in 1947, and in the same year, he entered into private practice.
Hosein became a Member of Parliament in 1961 and served as the MP for Chaguanas and member of the Democratic Labour Party. His appointment as Queen's Counsel came in February 1964. He received the Trinity Cross, formerly Trinidad's highest award, in 1982 for his contributions to law.