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Plans for swearing-in of Carmona kept under wraps (with CNC3 video)
Production details of the inauguration ceremony today for the T&T’s next president, Anthony Carmona, are being kept a closely guarded secret so as not to spoil the surprise. However the country’s rich cultural diversity will be on display and unveiled in the near three-hour long ceremony from 5 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.
When the T&T Guardian visited the venue where the ceremony is to be held, co-ordinators from the Office of the President and various state agencies could only divulge that the ceremony will involve 5,000 primary and secondary school students from across the country, including Santa Flora Government School which Carmona attended as well as his alma mater Presentation College, San Fernando.
Members of the T&T Defence Force drilled rigorously in their dress rehearsal on Friday in preparation for their parade. The full-scale rehearsal involved various Defence Force detachments comprising the Regiment, Coast Guard, Air Guard, Air Force and the T&T Defence Force Reserves. There was even test-firing for the 21-gun salute.
Members of the entertainment and planning section were also busy working out choreography, and workers and students were arranging plants and ornaments. The stage was being built by set designers; and giant television screens and speakers were being set in place and tested.
While details and changes in the inauguration ceremony were still being worked out, the T&T Guardian was allowed to sit in among a group of NAPA employees receiving last-minute instructions from a senior official. They will be ushering dignitaries to their assigned seating.
Logistics were being worked out as former presidents, prime ministers and chief justices were given specific seating arrangements. A colour code will be employed to identify the specially invited guests such as blue for the president's party and family, red for the members of the diplomatic corps and Trinity Cross, Order of T&T medal holders and yellow for the honorary consuls and members of state enterprises. What is kept under wraps will be an hour-long cultural presentation after Carmona is sworn in.
What is known is The Lydians Choir will sing The Battle Hymn for the Republic and Eddie Cumberbatch will perform I Vow to Thee My Country. Musical interludes will also feature several local icons such as Mavis John as well as tassa and steelpan. Four sets of prayers will be read at the ceremony and Roman Catholic priest Fr Clyde Harvey will bless Carmona, who is Roman Catholic.
Justice Devindra Rampersad will not be in his judicial garments. However, in his capacity as a pundit and representative of the Hindu faith he will also bless Carmona. Vice president of the Inter-Religious Organisation Haji Abzal Mohammed will represent the Muslim faith and recite a prayer. IRO president pundit Harrypersad Maharaj will deliver an invocation. President George Maxwell-Richards’ term of office came to an end yesterday and was marked by a ceremony in his honour.
According to today’s draft programme, the inauguration ceremony will start at 4.15 pm. The actual inauguration is set for 5 pm. The event will start with the arrival of a guard of honour, followed by dignitaries including Richards and his wife Jean, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. After the ceremony the new president is then expected to inspect the guard of honour, accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff.
Carmona will then make his inauguration speech, followed by a presidential salute. A reception will follow at Knowsley. Also expected to attend are former chief justice and former chairman of the Caribbean Court of Justice Michael de la Bastide and Senior Counsel Reginald Armour.
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