At least two Opposition members are calling for the resignation of Independent senators following the swearing-in of new President Christine Kangaloo on Monday.
Following Monday’s inauguration, discussions in some quarters have emerged over whether or not the nine sitting Independent senators appointed during the reign of former president Paula Mae-Weekes should resign.
However, there is no established practice that requires Independent senators to tender their resignation upon the entry of a new President. In fact, according to sections 39-45 of the Constitution, senator vacate their seats in the Senate at the next dissolution of Parliament after their appointment. As such, the cycle follows a Parliamentary term and not a President’s term in office.
The current Independent Senators are Paul Richards, Hazel Thompson-Ahye, Anthony Vieira, Amrita Deonarine, Maria Dillon-Remy, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, Charrise Seepersad, Evans Welch and Deoroop Teemal.
However, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath yesterday said he had very little faith in the current Independent senators, since he believes that they are "far from independent."
He said he had also questioned the legitimacy of Independent senators being a part of the Electoral College who voted to elect a new President in January.
“I believe that the Independent senators, they were in a very precarious situation in terms of voting in the Electoral College, knowing that they will be beholden to someone who was the Senate President while they served as Independent senators. So, I think they should have resigned before participating in the Electoral College,” Padarath told Guardian Media.
Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh meanwhile said although President Kangaloo said she plans to be open to all, that is to still be seen.
“A lot of presidents in the past have said many things in their inaugural speech and when you drill down, they disappear. They become disconnected from the public, they become disconnected from reality,” Indarsingh said.