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Rowley as Carmona is elected: There was no consensus
Minutes after all members of the electoral college unanimously voted in favour of Justice Anthony Carmona as President-elect, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said there was no consensus on the election. Carmona was elected unopposed as the next President of T&T during yesterday’s meeting.
But during a news conference afterwards in Tower D at the International Waterfront, Port-of-Spain, Rowley objected to media reports which claimed Carmona was nominated on the basis of consensus between the Government and Opposition. He said: “If consensus was arrived at, some of us might have signed the nomination paper.”
What actually happened, he said, was the Opposition supported the Government’s nominee and that was all. He said: “Those pseudo-intellectuals who write in the newspaper that the paradigm has changed and the PM has changed the paradigm of appointing a President, that is just not in keeping with fact. “The Government put forward a nominee that found favour with the Opposition. It was not arrived at by any consensus.”
Rowley did not speak during the meeting of the electoral college. Later, he said that was not because of any alleged objection to any rules for speaking at the meeting, as was reported in another newspaper. He explained only those who recommended a nominee were allowed to speak on the nominee.
He said because the Speaker of the House was in charge of the meeting he invited Rowley to speak. Rowley said, however, he objected to the condition that the Speaker must vet his speech and thus opted not to speak. At precisely 2.09 pm yesterday, chairman of the electoral college and Speaker of the House, Wade Mark, who is authorised to preside at such a meeting, declared Carmona the duly-elected President.
He will assume office on March 18, the day after President George Maxwell Richards demits office at the end of his second five-year term. During the 30-minute meeting, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who nominated Carmona, said he brought “unique and special qualities” as the nation’s next Head of State and was “guided by the deep spiritual convictions of his faith.
“Our new President-elect is still very much a man of the people but fully committed, without fear or favour, to universal justice and equality,” Persad-Bissessar added. She said Carmona was chosen as the nominee of the Government after a “most exhaustive and searching review” of candidates for the post.
She also paid public tribute to outgoing President Richards, adding he “served us faithfully, with honour and dignity.” Mark extended his congratulations to Carmona, saying because he had not been challenged by anyone it “confirmed the unanimous approval of Mr Carmona by the college and the national community.”
Mark also commended Richards for his service to the nation.
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