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Kamla picks Carmona (with CNC3 video)
There will be a lot of celebrating in south Trinidad. Those were the words of Government Information Services Ltd CEO Andy Johnson at 6.11 pm yesterday immediately after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced Fyzabad-born Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, SC, as Government’s choice for President.
Carmona, who had been presiding at the San Fernando High Court, was on the job up to yesterday as Government deliberated on the issue and finally made its decision last evening. Making the announcement at 6.10 pm yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre, Port-of-Spain, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said to loud applause from Cabinet members present:
“I have the honour and immense pride, to have advised His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago formally proposes the name of Mr Justice Judge Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, SC, as the nominee for the post of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Mr Justice Anthony T Carmona, in the opinion of those giving consideration, has demonstrated the qualities of human character, experience and distinguished qualifications worthy enough to be the nominee for President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and to best serve our citizens their enshrined and sacred democratic rights and interests with compassion, humanity, fairness and love towards all.”
Carmona, 59, is expected to be appointed T&T’s fifth President at the electoral college in Parliament next week Friday, since Government holds the majority numbers in the Parliament, members of which comprise the college. Incumbent President George Maxwell Richards’ second term ends on March 17. Richards is 82.
Yesterday, the PM opened her statement by thanking Richards. She said: “I wish to take this opportunity on behalf of the Government and people of T&T to extend the nation’s deepest gratitude to our sitting President, His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards, for the distinguished service he has given to us all in the past decade.
“As an academic and former principal of the University of the West Indies, he brought excellence to this esteemed office scholastic expertise and he is best remembered as the person who redefined the role into a more people-friendly one. “President George Maxwell Richards has served us with honour and dignity and he will hold, like all presidents past, a sacred and special place in our nation’s history.”
Persad-Bissessar said there was much “deliberation and prayerful consideration “of all the recommendations advanced. She said the role of President has become, more than ever, an important one constitutionally and it was much needed to effect proper governance and the democratic tenets .
Outlining deliberations, Persad-Bissessar said she met yesterday with Opposition Leader Keith Rowley and had the opportunity to consider his party's choice and to brief him on the procedure Government adopted to arrive at the best candidate. She said she shared with all members of Government and the leaders of the Partnership parties, the names and views expressed by everyone with whom she had consulted.
She said: “In this process, each member was given the opportunity to state his or her view on the preferred choice of nominee for President. At the end of this collaboration the individual chosen as the nominee for the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago emerged.
“He has had a distinguished career in the criminal justice system over the past 30 years, serving under several administrations. Mr Justice Anthony T Carmona held the positions of deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and acting Director of Public Prosecutions.”
It is the second time a judge from south Trinidad has been nominated to be President.
Deceased former president Noor Hassanali, also southern born, was a retired High Court judge when he was appointed T&T’s second president. Hassanali was preceded by President Ellis Clarke and succeeded by Arthur NR Robinson. The latter was succeeded by Richards. The T&T Guardian learned Carmona was informed of his nomination about half-an-hour before the Prime Minister’s press conference last evening.
Security was immediately instituted around him from yesterday. Carmona was chosen from among a shortlist of three, which included retired judge Amrika Tiwary-Reddy and former COP leader Winston Dookeran. The list had boiled down from a lengthy one which included parliamentarians, judges, business people, attorneys, board members and other professionals.
PP officials confirmed the PM yesterday called in the executives of each of the Partnership parties to discuss their views and in that session COP‘s executive stuck to their suggestion of Dookeran to be the nominee. Dookeran and former MSJ leader Errol Mcleod, who was also nominated for the post, recused themselves as PP‘s parliamentary caucus discussed the nominees.
Mcleod returned for the PM’s subsequent announcement but Dookeran left the Diplomatic Centre compound and was not present for the announcement.
About Anthony Carmona
Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona is a High Court Judge at the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago and a judge-elect of the International Criminal Court. He was born on March 7 1953. He attended the University of the West Indies and the Hugh Wooding Law School between 1973 and 1983. In 1989, he became a Senior State attorney.
From 1994 to 1999, he was first assistant then deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. From 2001 to 2004, he was an appeals counsel at the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, the International criminal tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha. In 2004, he was appointed a High Court Judge at the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago. On December 12, 2011, he was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court. (Source: Wikipedia).
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