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Carmona to be elected today
Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar and PNM leader Keith Rowley are expected to deliver remarks following this afternoon’s election of Justice Anthony Carmona as president- elect of T&T. Parliament officials said both are expected to speak in what is likely to be a 30-minute meeting of the electoral college to confirm Carmona as T&T’s fifth President.
All members of both Houses of Parliament who comprise the electoral college, will meet at the Parliament chamber at the International Waterfront, Portof- Spain, at 2 pm for the occasion which will be hosted by Speaker Wade Mark. At yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed said since Carmona was nominated unopposed, he will automatically be elected and today’s exercise will simply ratify the process. On Monday Carmona will formally receive his instruments of appointment from Mark at 11 am. He was nominated by Government for the post. Incumbent President George Maxwell Richards’ second term of office ends on March 17. Born on March 7, 1953 in Palo Seco, Carmona turns 60 next month. He will be the third south Trinidad-born president. The first was the late Noor Hassanali. Richards, 82, was also born in San Fernando.
PNM whip Marlene McDonald said the PNM had not yet received Government’s legal opinions on Carmona’s work which took him overseas in previous years and put into question his residency status within the last ten years. PNM’s Colm Imbert recently said McDonald was requesting the information to ensure Carmona met constitutional criteria on residency and no challenge to his nomination could be mounted. Imbert stressed the PNM had “no intention whatsoever” of challenging it. Carmona is expected to take the oath of office when Richards’ term ends. The PNM government had passed the Presidents’ Emoluments Amendment Act which facilitated evaluation of the pension benefits every six years, placing all former presidents on an equal financial footing with the incumbent. Imbert said a president’s pension by law was equal to his full salary on demitting office. He said the salary is $49,500 a month. Richards, 82, went on leave last evening until February 25 and in his absence Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith will act as head of state, a function he has performed in the past.
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