The recent announcement made by the government in nominating Mrs. Christine Kangaloo for the office of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago flies in the face of the spirit of the Constitution. Our Republican Constitution of 1976 envisaged the holder of the highest office of the land to be a person who is non-partisan and who will bring the virtue of impartiality to the office. In fact, our history shows that the majority of the persons holding this office were seen to be non-partisan and impartial. Care has been taken to choose a citizen who was above politics and who had the interests of the people and country at heart.
Let me hasten to add that I have no personal objection to Mrs. Kangaloo herself, who would have served this country in other capacities, but I am merely looking at the implications of going against a long-standing tradition and convention that has worked well for Trinidad and Tobago.
The current nominee for President was herself a former PNM government Minister and Member of Parliament and who has strong ties to the PNM party. In the minds of many, this shows that non-partisanship and impartiality will be compromised.
The Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is to unite and speak for the people of our country in a way that inspires hope and trust.
Parliament, of which the President of the Republic is head, is where government is held accountable to the people and which provides oversight on all government’s actions and decisions.
Our Constitution clearly spells out the separation of powers of the three branches of government, namely, the Executive, Legislative (Parliament), and the Judiciary.
In the present scenario, given the recent nomination of Mrs. Kangaloo for the Office of President will clearly undermine the spirit and intention of the Constitution. Nominating and selecting a person with strong party affiliations to the government in power is not what our country needs. It needs non-partisan leadership and a voice for all of Trinidad and Tobago. Our country does not need a proverbial ‘Rubber Stamp’ for government’s actions and decisions as this is never a good sign for democracy.
In light of this, I support the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in her call for the government to reconsider its nominee for the office of President, to consider the Opposition’s nominee, and, if that person is not acceptable to the government, to seek another person whose impartiality is unquestioned.
Dr. Lackram Bodoe
MP for Fyzabad