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Opposition to meet with PM today on Presidential nominee
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is expected to chair a special Cabinet meeting from two o’clock this afternoon at her office in St Clair to approve her government’s nominee for President. Following that meeting she will announce the name of the candidate likely to be elected as this country’s fifth President when the Electoral College meets on February 15.
Approached for comment yesterday, several Cabinet ministers said they did not know who the nominee is but had been asked to recommend people for the post. However, one well placed source told the T&T Guardian: “The country will be shocked when the nominee for President is announced. It is a dark horse in the race. Everyone will be shocked, one would’nt even consider the person being nominated.”
Before this afternoon’s Cabinet meeting Persad-Bissessar will lead a Government team at consensus talks with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. Other members of the Opposition team set to attend are Chief Whip Marlene Mc Donald, PNM PRO Senator Faris Al-Rawi and Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert. The meeting is aimed at reaching consensus on a prospective nominee of the Opposition for the post, Justice Rolston Nelson.
Mc Donald wrote the Prime Minister last Friday indicating the Opposition’s desire to reach agreement with the Government on Justice Nelson for the job. Al-Rawi told reporters later that same day that the prospective nominee would accept nomination only if it was based on consensus. Persad-Bissessar agreed to meet with the Opposition on receiving the letter. In a release on Friday night she said “diligent and due consideration will be given to the recommendation.”
Contacted for comment on the matter yesterday National Security Minister Jack Warner said he wanted to know what consensus the Opposition was seeking to engage in with the Government. Warner said the Opposition had “no credibility when it comes to consensus.” He said after the Opposition and the Government had reached consensus on the Section 34 issue in the Parliament, the Opposition turned around and started to attack the PP Government on the said issue.
Warner said also the Opposition has embarrassed Justice Nelson by seeking to have him nominated for the post of President without consulting him. Al Rawi said on Friday that the Opposition consulted Justice Nelson about the matter and he agreed to be nominated on the basis of consensus with the Government. Al-Rawi did not release Nelson’s name during the hastily arranged news briefing in Port-of-Spain at his law office on Friday.
If no consensus was reached between the Government and the Opposition, the Government’s nominee will be elected as head of state as it has the majority of votes required. The Electoral College is chaired by House Speaker Wade Mark and includes all 41 MPs and 31 members of the Senate.
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