UNC Rejects Kangaloo for President

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‘This one, it really angers me. It seriously angers me. It is appalling. It is atrocious to put a sitting politician in this high exulted office ‘- Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

By Sue-Ann Wayow

PRESIDENT of the Senate Christine Kangaloo will receive no support from the Opposition in her nomination to become President.

As a broken nation, Trinidad and Tobago needed to put a President who can help the nation to heal, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said.

There was a major concern that putting a politician in the highest position in the land may cause more segregation, she said.

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This, Persad-Bissessar indicated to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley when they met on Friday to discuss the issue of Presidency.

Dr Rowley announced officially at a press conference that Kangaloo was the Government’s nominee for the post.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed

However, at a subsequent press conference, Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition unanimously rejected Kangaloo as nominee.

She said, “This one, it really angers me. It seriously angers me. It is appalling. It is atrocious to put a sitting politician in this high exulted office.”

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Dr Rowley could fool no one by saying Kangaloo was not an active politician who she said “ came from the bosom and bowels of the PNM.”

Persad-Bissessar said, “When he tried to convince us today that Ms Kangaloo is not an active politician, nothing in my respectful view is further from the truth.”

The President has important roles to play contrary to what may be perceived and it must be completely independent of political ties, which Persad-Bissessar said Kangaloo was clearly not, being involved in politics for decades and a People’s National Movement (PNM) appointee to the Senate.

“To put such a nominee is to subvert the spirit of our democratic institution. It is to violate that Constitution,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar added, “This I see as another blatant attempt to undermine our democracy and it is totally unacceptable to us. The choice of presidency isn’t just a choice that must be judged on experience, merit, stability or public service.”

She also said the Opposition was not just “opposing for opposing sake” as for the last President, the nomination form was signed by Opposition members.

“We did not blink,” she said.

President Paula-Mae Weekes who she said had no cause then to be deemed not independent found herself in disrepute in the Opposition’s eyes especially following the scenario with the Police Service Commission.

Persad-Bissessar said much more could occur if Kangaloo was elected to the post especially as the PNM was the ruling political party.

“All right-thinking citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, I call upon you to let the Government know this is not acceptable,” the Opposition Leader asked of the population.

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She said she will be asking of Dr Rowley to re-consider his nominee and she will also share the names of persons the Opposition was consulting with.

Those names would be revealed on Saturday so that the Opposition can put forward another nominee.

“We cannot go to the Parliament and allow that nomination to go free,” Persad-Bissessar said.

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Opposition Senator Wade Mark also spoke at the media conference giving historical accounts of his election battles with Kangaloo.

Mark along with Opposition Chief Whip David Lee also attended the meeting with Dr Rowley.

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