Choosing a president

Newsday Editorial
January 6 2013 – newsday.co.tt

President Professor George Maxwell RichardsThere will be much speculation until next month as to the identity of the government’s nominee for the next president of Trinidad and Tobago. With a nomination deadline of February 5, a new president will be elected on February 15 ahead of the March 17 end of the five-year term of President George Maxwell Richards.

The February 15 election date certainly comes at a busy time, following the January 21 THA election, the Parliamentary debate on the THA bill that is likely to be heated and lengthy in late January/early February, and the carnival which climaxes on February 11 and 12. Whether or not the matter has already been decided by Cabinet is not known. However, the names of a number of people are appearing in the media, among them House Speaker Wade Mark, Karl Hudson Phillips, QC, and Kenneth Lalla SC. It has also been reported that the Congress of the People faction in the Partnership would like to see Winston Dookeran elected President. Sources say it is unlikely that Dookeran will get the nod after his public criticism of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar´s handling of the recent hunger fast.

In addition, Mr Dookeran represents the marginal seat of Tunapuna and it is even more unlikely that the government would want to risk a by-election in the event that Dookeran would have to resign his seat in favour of the presidency.

It is however a foregone conclusion that whoever is selected by the Government, will be the President given the overwhelming majority enjoyed by the People’s Partnership. The PNM has signalled that it too would nominate its own candidate, but this a mere formality as the Government’s majority will triumph. In any case the PNM has a more serious issue on its hand right now – holding on to office in Tobago in the January 21 THA election.

It is therefore paying more attention to that election than to the presidential election although PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley has demonstrated that he holds the President of Trinidad and Tobago in high regard by writing to him and virtually believing that the President has the power to take the Prime Minister to court to compel her to answer questions. Many see the president as merely the ceremonial embodiment of the values of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago but who is also mandated by the TT constitution to be the key check and balance on exercise of executive power.

However, we urge that the person selected is able to retain the confidence of the nation across a broad spectrum, in his or her personal qualities, profession, abilities and temperament.

While the president is ultimately chosen according to the wishes of the government of the day, nonetheless, we believe he or she should not be regarded as a creature of the government, but be seen as one willing to rein in any excesses of the executive. In this regard, President Richards has been criticised for standing by and allowing former Prime Minister Patrick Manning to run riot in the country, taking as far as we know, no objection to the millions Manning was spending on the grand Diplomatic Centre at St Ann’s – and even the questionable funding of the Church of the Prophetess at Guanapo – while President’s House collapsed in ruin.

On the other hand however, we don’t need a situation where the president and the government are at odds with one another. That’s why in selection of their nominee all governments prefer to err on the side of loyalty to its side. We acknowledge the value of loyalty. But we acknowledge the value of integrity even more.

We have no preferences for president at this stage, but we ask that the president chosen should be a person of integrity and not a rubber stamp for any government.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,171614.html

4 Responses to “Choosing a president”


  • Sooner, rather than later, Tobago may be faced with the onerous task of choosing a President. The name Reginald Dumas comes to mind. Shadow and Patrick Arnold may not be interested in that office.

  • Mr John Henry, de Xmas alcohol season , is long over , so quit making idle comments buddy. I know you Trinis start your partying, and rum drinking Carnival dambley,on New Years day , and it often lasts, all through your Ash Wednesday, but I wish you and similar others would stop buying into these idiot overtures towards the desperate people of Tobago, when neither the government in power, or those in waiting ,have the guts, intentions,fortitude, or slightest ability to deliver, in any form , or fashion.
    It is not for you nutty Trinidadians ,to give Tobago , any form of self government, or independence.They alone can , and must achieve / reach out and snatch same ,of their own volition, and trust me , it would come.
    Never , ever ,should the proud folks of Tobago , find themselves in dat unfortunate position ,where they become beholden to disingenuous ,immoral, political souls-based in Trinidad- for their true liberation, and or , socio political progress.
    Just wish more of you guys ,would limit your analysis to de typical neo tribal, Trinidad,behind de bridge, careage, and Las Lomas, he said, she said, foolishness ,that is the norm/ has occurred -more so of late – as progressive politics.
    Por ejemplo,Here is a nice one to chew on:- That day ,either character ,such as Basdeo Panday, Wade Mark, or HAmid Ghanny becomes President in my Republic, I would burn my T&T ID card,Passport,& birth certificate forthwith, and seek permanent citizenship , in planet Mars , if possible, how about you? Tell you , de person who can make yours truly hate dis place , ain’t born yet.

  • A former governor of the Central Bank, a former Minister of Planning and Mobilization, a former Minister of Finance, Minister of External Affairs presently, an individual who was not part of Club 88 but absorbed a barrage of insults from Ramnath and company at Lakshmi Girls HS but stood with the Prime Minister (ANR) at the time. Exemplary qualifications! Last paragraph, “we ask that the president chosen should be a person of integrity and not a rubber stamp for any government.” The integrity of the man is resoundingly in tact. At the end of the second paragraph, “Sources say it is unlikely that Dookeran will get the nod after his public criticism of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar´s handling of the recent hunger fast”. Now, that was what was projected by the media, diametrically opposite to what Dookeran was asking the PM to be re-consider against the background of a man (Kublal) wanting to kill himself for a belief of national importance. You do not need to be a lawyer to be the President. The criteria here is integrity, objectivity to issues and standing strong against the likes of Abu Bakr invading Parliament as opposed to wake me up when it is over. Dookeran certainly qualifies on the grounds of qualifications and experience.

  • ‘A former Governor of de Central Bank / Minister of Finance …ladened with integrity,and objectivity, re de issues, with a backbone to stand up where warranted ?’ Please! Yeah we know how that worked out , when his first claim after grabbing the coveted posts, was to parrot de bogus claim, that our Treasury was almost empty- thus implying that it was de case, due to others in control before his regime’s time-even as he repeatedly signed off exorbitant , ‘eat ah food,’projects ,of mucho benefits ,to political fans, and worst yet , behaved ‘as if cat cut his tongue ,’ when his PP government , questionably ,reneged ,on established foreign contracts , that were highly beneficial to our country – all of which will eventually cost ,tax payers billions ,as a result, of prospective lawsuits.
    By de way , we know that unlike us idiots Trinis, dem Brazilain coastlines ,would be much safer from guns/ other small arms ,and drug running, criminal bozos ,that encroach, and what is de real reasons ,as to why the already constructed ,T&T coast guard interdiction ships, were cancelled again, Trini Loyal? Uuuhmmm,to save 10 million , as we buy instead ,some sub par versions ,from Columbia.
    My late , and extremely wise ,Tobago Grand mom, would call dat,”penny wise , and pound foolish,”mi amigo.
    Loyal Trini , you as chief UNC, turn PP , party hack ,can talk until ‘dem Central Water Buffalos come home ,’but your Uncle Dookie, can not be President of this Republic , and I don’t give a hoot , if he has 10 PHds from Oxford, Toronto University, Harvard, Yale , Columbia ,Princeton , Standford,and Cambridge, or better yet ,held 50 prestigious jobs ,across T&T during his self centered ,political career.
    He , just like his boss ‘Her Majestick,Queen K ,’are mere ,tamer / more on de surface, palatable versions, of the diabolical , nepotistic , and corrupt ,Basdeo Panday.
    As a die hard member of that ULF , turned UNC controlled PP regime, he is too political, and would not serve the purpose of which this post was meant-namely to act an independent, unbiased , and dare I say respected character , that can rally our nation forward, in Statesman like fashion,as he speaks ,with some voice of reason ,especially , in these racially charged , subpar leadership, and yes , tumultuous times.
    Tell you what , there was a time dat I could have voted for Uncle Dookie,and would have loved to see him evolved as our country’s PM.
    Not certain, if today,I ‘ll do it , even if you placed 5 million dollars ,in a yellow envelop ,to entice me ,so to do ,today, Trini Loyal.
    ‘Don’ like me no wolves in sheep clothing,’neither should you , mi amigo! Too much is at stake in La Trinity, and so you ,and similar like minded others, seeking more ways to ensure Triumphalist domination of Sweet, Sweet,T&T , aka Rainbow Nation,can finally give it a rest.
    We patriotic progressives , will do what ever it takes ,to halt ‘you alls,’in your neo tribal tracks-feel me buddy?

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