Panday Receives Instrument of Appointment

LEFT: His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards presents the Instrument of Appointment to Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday
LEFT: His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards presents
the Instrument of Appointment to Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday

TriniView.com Reporters
Event Date: November 15, 2007
Posted: November 20, 2007

Opposition Leader and Member of Parliament for Couva North Basdeo Panday received his instrument of appointment as Leader of the Opposition on Thursday 15th November, 2007, at the President’s house in front of a small gathering consisting mainly of UNC supporters.

The Instrument of Appointment was presented to Mr. Panday by His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at a very brief and simple ceremony.

The ceremony opened with the national anthem followed by welcome remarks from His Excellency. President Max Richards explained the nature of the occasion. He said,

Our constitution makes provision for the appointment to the leader of the Opposition. The President shall appoint, if the person concerned is worthy, that member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is likely to command the support of those members of parliament who do not support the government and in my judgment, Mr. Basdeo Panday meets that requirement.

He continued,

In the past, the consensus has been that the office would send the Instrument of Appointment down to the office of the leader of the opposition. But I thought what might be a welcome break in the tradition and after some discussions with Mr. Panday, that we should present that Instrument of Appointment directly to Mr. Panday… If I may be allowed to correct what appears to be some slight misunderstanding in some sections of the media, this is not the Swearing In Ceremony. Mr. Panday will take the oath of office in the Parliament at the first sitting as a Member of Parliament.

At the end of His Excellency’s address, the presentation was made and this brought the ceremony to a close.

Some of the attendees at the ceremony included Jack Warner, Oma Panday and daughter Mikela Panday, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Wade Mark, Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Dr. Tim Goopesingh, Dr. Suruj Rambachan, Vasant Bharath, Sylvester Ramquar and his wife Mrs. Ramquar, Dr. Daphne Phillips and her husband Horace Gaskin Phillips, just to name a few.

Speaking after the ceremony at the President’s house, Mr. Panday, when asked to comment on the five-day Cabinet retreat at Salybia Bay said,

I don’t think they should have gone to a retreat. I think they should have gone to ‘a surrender’ instead of retreat: an absolute waste of time. It will take much longer than that to teach those guys what to do in parliament; they are all greenhorns as you know. It took us a very long time. They probable went to practice the Swearing-In that they take in parliament. I think that’s really what it is all about.

When questioned about his views on the increasing crime that is plaguing the country, Mr. Panday said,

First of all I do not know why the country should be surprised. They got the government they deserved or rather they wanted; nobody deserves this. They should have expected that there would be crime and more crime: more murders and more kidnapping and more everything. I don’t know why the country should be disappointed; that’s what they wanted.

About the possibility of the UNC and COP splitting votes in the local government elections, Mr. Panday said, “My feelings are that people will not make that mistake for the second time.”

Mr. Panday further said that he intends to raise several issues when parliament resumes and these include: the day to day crime, traffic jams, murders, kidnapping, the high price of basic food stuff, bad hospitals and terrible infrastructure. He remarked, “The most critical thing for our country at this time is constitutional reform.”

Kamla Persad-Bissessar also shared her views with the media. When asked about her role in the party she said,

I am an elected representative of the people. I am Deputy Leader of my party; I intend to fill those roles to the best of my ability. I have a very important role as a representative of the people. I have always taken that very seriously and I intend to do so once again.

About the government’s five-day Cabinet retreat at Salybia Bay she said,

We need to raise issues on behalf of the people. I think it was out of place for him (Mr. Manning) to take this retreat for over a week without giving any thought to the convening of the Parliament. Even up to today there is no word as to when the parliament will convene.

Mr. Jack Warner also fielded some questions from the media. When asked about the controversial firing of former Concacaf employee, Roy Augustus, Mr. Warner said that he had no malice against Mr. Augustus and had even allowed him to take four weeks leave to campaign for the COP. It was when Mr. Augustus failed to show up for a business-related Concacaf meeting and was subsequently seen at another engagement made public by a picture of him in one of the nation’s newspapers that Mr. Warner approached him. According to Mr. Warner, when he confronted Mr. Augustus, he was met with the obscene and defensive temperament of Mr. Augustus and, as a result, fired him.

Mr. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, also commenting to the media after the ceremony, said that he was amazed that after Mr. Dookeran’s party spent over $150,000,000 and even after having free ad campaigns in the newspapers that they could not get one seat in parliament. He advised that Mr. Dookeran should bow out of politics gracefully. He said that the COP’s supporters have been fooled and both himself and the UNC would work to regain their supporters so that they could collectively fight the PNM in the upcoming local elections and the next general elections.

In closing, Mr. Panday said,

We have called upon people to unite. We believe that it is absolutely necessary and the results, in fact, indicate that the PNM is a minority government and had there been unity then the PNM would be in the opposition…we call upon the entire country to unite.

Basdeo Panday Receives His Instrument of Appointment in pictures:
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