Attorney Kerwyn Garcia on life with presidential nominee: ‘I’m always Mr Christine Kangaloo’

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Senate President Christine Kangaloo and her husband Kerwyn Garcia during a reception to celebrate the return of the Parliament to the Red House on January 24, 2020. – File photo/Roger Jacob

ATTORNEY Kerwyn Garcia, the husband of presidential nominee Christine Kangaloo, said he has no reservations about being referred to as “Mr Christine Kangaloo” if his wife is elected to the post.

Bursting out in laughter when the question was posed to him, Garcia, in a very candid interview on Saturday said, “Let me tell you, I have been Mr Christine Kangaloo since 2000, I think.”

He recalled the first time he was referred to by that title was when his wife was appointed Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of social services delivery and ecclesiastical affairs.

“Way back when, we were at a function. We sat together and we were greeted by the MC and she was introduced as minister of so and so, Christine Kangaloo and me, as Mr Kangaloo.

“I just laughed and laughed until tears came out of my eyes and so it has been ever since. It’s a joke and it tickles me every time,” Garcia said.

He again exploded in laughter as he considered his role and title if she is elected as the next President.

“I don’t even know what they are going to call me or what the protocol is. This has never happened before,” he said pointing out that the only other female President, Paula-Mae Weeks, did not have a husband.

“It is all very new, interesting, but really if it comes to that, because we haven’t even got to all the nominations and elections, my function is just to be a supporter.

“She supports me in everything I do and I think it’s the very least I can do, to support her in this new and exciting, potential role. Whatever she requires from me in this role, I would be more than happy to provide that support.”

The couple have been married for 24 years and will celebrate their silver jubilee this year.

Garcia described her, “As an amazing human being and a wonderful wife. I could not want for more.”

Kangaloo’s nomination, to replace Weekes when her term expires in March, has stirred up controversy as questions of her impartiality to hold the office of President, because of her politics.

Memes of her campaigning on the People’s National Movement (PNM) platform and her relationship with the Garcia family, including former education minister, Anthony Garcia, her father-in-law, and Udecott chairman, Noel Garcia, have been making their rounds on social media.

Kerwyn Garcia walks behind his wife Christine Kangaloo while as acting President she hosts a a state banquet for Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali at President’s House, St Ann’s on August 17, 2022. – File photo/Ayanna Kinsale

State briefs her husband received is also being used to discredit the nomination.

Garcia told Sunday Newsday he is not a member of any political party although his family is politically active. The Kangaloo family, he said, has also been dedicated to public service for generations, starting with her father, Carlyle, an attorney, who was a former mayor San Fernando from 1970-1973.

Her late brother, Justice Wendell Kangaloo, was an acting Chief Justice at the time of his death in an accident, another brother, Colin, also served as a judge but has returned to private practice, while brother, David, was a former chief veterinary officer.

The Garcia family, he said, is less public.

“Whether you believe it or not, we are extremely private people. It’s not easy to be placed in a fish bowl, which it feels like sometimes.”

Because public service is part of his wife’s DNA, he said he has grown to accept it as a part of his life as well.

“I love her and you know, I am just going to have to live with it. My political affiliation is to my wife, it always has been.”

Garcia said people must learn, like he did, to be tolerant and respectful of other people’s view, even if you don’t always agree with them.

With reference to criticisms about her politics influencing the presidency, he defended his wife’s honour.

“Christine is the ideal public servant. She is a woman of impeccable integrity,” telling a story of him having to vacate their small apartment when they were first married, for her to study government documents.

“I literally had to pack my bags, jump in my car and go to my office until she was finished reading and she would tell me I could come back home.

“That is one of the funny stories I give about how impeccable, remarkable and full of integrity this person is.

“Yes, she has a political history. That is a fact.”

One of the inaccuracies being touted, he said, is that she is a PNM member.

“She was a PNM member. She resigned from the party in order to take up the position that called for impartiality – President of the Senate.

The question that needs to be asked, he said, is, “can this human being perform impartially in a position that calls for impartiality?

“I think the answer to that is an unreserved and unequivocal, yes. She can conduct herself in an impartial role. That is what she has been doing for the last seven years and Senate President,” he said.

With respect to the question of state briefs, he said he is not in charge of whom state work is or isn’t assigned.

As an attorney with over 29 years of practice, he said he has received instructions from governments other than the PNM.

“I hold myself available to accept instructions from any client in a field in which I am competent by virtue of my experience and my training.”