Kangaloo is President-Elect

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

CHRISTINE Carla Kangaloo has officially been elected as the next President of Trinidad and Tobago.

She was elected following the voting process by secret ballot in the parliamentary Electoral College on Friday afternoon.

President-Elect Christine Kangaloo. Photo: T&T Parliament

Kangaloo received 48 votes  over the Opposition’s nominee attorney Israel Raja Khan, SC, who received 22 votes.

There were three rejected ballots, two of which were blank and one had more than one “X” stamp.

House Speaker Brigid Annisette-George, who presided over the Electoral College, made the announcement accompanied by much desk thumping from the Government’s side.

She also congratulated Kangaloo on her newly elected position, the highest in the land.

Kangaloo will become the nation’s seventh President, the second female president and will also become the Commander of the Armed Forces during her tenure.

Annisette-George said, “Honourable members, Section 31.1 of the Constitution provides that a candidate who is unopposed or who has obtained the greater number of the votes cast shall be declared elected. Accordingly, I hereby declare that Ms Christine Carla Kangaloo has obtained the greater number of votes cast and as such is elected as President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.”


Kangaloo will serve a five-year term as set out by the Constitution.

Annisette-George said an instrument signed by herself as Speaker certifying the election of Kangaloo will be issued to Kangaloo pursuant to Section 32: 1B of the Constitution.

Kangaloo will then take her oath set out by the Chief Justice or judge designated by the Chief Justice.

The House Speaker also thanked outgoing President Paula-Mae Weekes for her service and invited other members of the Electoral College to make remarks.


Independent Senator Paul Richards offered congratulations to Kangaloo and also thanked Weekes for her service wishing her well in her future endeavours.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in her brief remarks said the Opposition will be holding that Office to high scrutiny.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said, “This chamber by clear majority has chosen a distinguished daughter of Trinidad and Tobago.”


He said the Constitution has performed its function adding that the voting process went smoothly.

The Electoral College, established under Section 28 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is composed of all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate assembled together.

The joint sitting of both houses began with a role call followed by the prayer of the Electoral College and the singing of the National Anthem.


Annisette-George informed the college of the nominees and the process by which the President is elected.

Dr Rowley spoke on behalf of his nominee saying her life has been filled with service to citizens following in the footsteps of her father, the late Carlyle Kangaloo, former Mayor of San Fernando.

He gave a brief biography of Kangaloo, an attorney by profession, who held several ministerial portfolios under the People’s National Movement (PNM) government and is a former Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre.

Dr Rowley said she committed herself to national service upon becoming an Opposition Senator in 2001.

“She committed herself unreservedly with dedication, humility and the utmost integrity,” he said.

Dr Rowley said she was a most worthy candidate and he took pride in presenting her for consideration for the esteemed presidential position before the electoral college.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in putting forward her nominee,  said Khan possessed all the qualities needed to become president and was a true patriot.


Additionally he was a devoted lecturer at the Hugh Wooding Law School, a husband and father of four children and the President of the Criminal Bar Association she stated.

Persad-Bissessar said, “Given his dedication to this country’s development, his track record of always answering the calls of national duty and his lifelong commitment to making T&T a better nation, it is our respectful view that he will offer credibility, integrity and loyal service to the people of our Republic through the Office of the President.”

The voting process 

Before the voting process, after Anisette-George laid out the steps in which it was to be conducted, an empty ballot box was shown to members of the electoral college to ensure there was no material in the box.

Persons were called up in alphabetical order to collect their ballot papers from the Clerk of the House, stamp the ‘X” next to the prospective nominee in a private area and place their secret ballot into the locked box.


The actual voting process took almost an hour and 30 minutes.

While the votes were being counted, Lisa Morris-Julian monitored on behalf of the Government while Davendranath Tancoo observed on behalf of the Opposition.

The first ballot was rejected as there was an “X” placed by more than one name.

All ballot papers were checked individually and publicly in the House.

They were also double-checked by Tancoo.

Earlier this week, Kangaloo resigned from her position as Senate President, a position she held for the past seven years making way for Nigel De Frietas to take up the prestigious position in the Upper House.

Her senatorial position was taken up by businessman Richie Sookhai.

Her nomination on the Government’s side did not sit well with members of the Opposition who said she was not politically independent enough and put forward attorney Khan instead.

Kangaloo will officially take up her presential duties on March 21, 2023, after the term of President Paula-Mae Weeks comes to an end constitutionally on March 20.


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