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Hurdles cleared for election of Prez Carmona
No challenges were expected to the nomination of Justice Anthony TA Carmona for the office of president, according to Parliament officials finalising systems for tomorrow’s election of a Head of State.
Incumbent President George Maxwell Richards, whose second term ends on March 17, is expected to proceed on vacation from today until February 25 to enjoy his outstanding leave, an official source said. He is taking his vacation overseas, since two Heads of State cannot be in T&T at the same time. Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith is expected to act as president in Richards’ absence.
On tomorrow’s election, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed said yesterday, “We’re looking forward to this election of a very honourable man who we expect will continue to be of great service to T&T, particularly (as) he is a family man with a young family and seems to be in tune with what is taking place in T&T.
“This is historic in the sense that it will be the first time such young people will be connected to the office of president, and it will be interesting to see how the media will approach this and how his family can serve as role models.” Dismissing initial concerns about Carmona’s residency while working overseas in previous years, Mohammed said that matter had been laid to rest.
PNM officials didn’t respond to calls yesterday on whether they had received Government’s legal opinions on the issue which the Opposition had requested. PNM MP Colm Imbert stressed last week the party “had no intention whatsoever” of challenging Carmona’s nomination.
He said the PNM had queried Carmona’s residency situation only to ensure the issue was covered and no challenges could arise. PNM general secretary Ashton Ford said they meet in caucus today on the election and members would know if legal opinions had been received.
Mohammed said if any challenge had to be mounted to government’s nomination of Carmona, it would come to the office of the Speaker, where the nomination was lodged last week. Speaker Wade Mark is the host of tomorrow’s meeting of the electoral college in the Parliament. For tomorrow’s function, Mohammed said, members of the electoral college—comprising all members of both Houses of Parliament—will receive a letter informing them of their membership.
The office of the Speaker yesterday confirmed no challenge or objection to the nomination had been received. Parliament officials finalising preparations yesterday said the time to lodge any objection should have been last week, when the nomination was submitted. At the event at 2pm tomorrow, the Speaker is expected to make a brief announcement of the nominee.
Carmona is expected to become president-elect after he is formally given the nod. Officials said they anticipate a very brief meeting of the electoral college, since Carmona’s nomination was unopposed. The Government is working toward a swearing-in ceremony around March 18, immediately after Richards’ term ends on March 17.
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