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Carmona receives his instrument of appointment today
President-elect Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona will receive his instrument of appointment today and will be sworn in on March 18 at a Hasely Crawford Stadium function hosted by outgoing head of state Prof George Maxwell Richards. Following last Friday’s election to the post by the electoral college of Parliament, Carmona, 59, will be presented with his instrument of appointment by House Speaker Wade Mark at 11 am today at the Parliament Building, Port-of-Spain.
Richards’ second term ends on Sunday, March 17. Former President Arthur NR Robinson had hosted the swearing-in ceremony for Richards in 2003 at the start of his first term in office. Carmona will follow in the footsteps of predecessor Richards who took the oath of office for his second term at the stadium venue in 2008.
Richards is on pre-retirement leave until February 25. Yesterday leader of government business Roodal Moonilal said after Carmona is appointed, he will for a certain period occupy executive housing at Flagstaff Hill at a unit formerly occupied by ex-police commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. The latter resigned as top cop last year.
Moonilal said Carmona and his family will be living at that unit for a short period until the cottage at President’s House is made available, possibly before mid-year. The cottage will be refurbished to accommodate the new president and his family. It has been used by incumbent Richards and his family since President’s House is under renovation and is not projected to be completed for some time.
Moonilal also expressed concern about Opposition Leader Keith Rowley’s behaviour in refusing to adhere to the rules which involved submitting his speech to the Speaker’s office before last Friday’s meeting of the electoral college. “It was a lack of respect by the Opposition Leader for members of the electoral college,” he said.
“A meeting of the electoral college in our Westminster tradition is considered a rare, sacred event when that body assembles for the purpose of electing a head of state. Like any sacred occasion, there are protocols and one of those is that persons desirous of speaking would submit their text.
“In most parliamentary matters one is required to submit motions, questions and similar submissions from the floor for scrutiny and similar traditions are followed in other fora...So it wasn’t something one is unaccustomed to, or is it any extreme or drastic situation.
However, the Opposition Leader showed a lack of statesmanship which reduced the protocol to a schoolchild analogy of ‘vetting a speech.’ “It was a telling symbol of the lack of statesmanship and diplomacy that should not go with high office and it speaks to the fitness of the Opposition Leader to occupy high office,” he said.
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