Ex-PM Panday on Kangaloo nomination – Presidency of no use to TT

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

POOR CHRISTINE: Former prime minister Basdeo Panday who said he is feeling sorry for Christine Kangaloo on her nomination as the country’s next President. FILE PHOTO –

fORMER prime minister Basdeo Panday expressed his “sympathies” to Senate President Christine Kangaloo on her being Government’s nominee to replace Paula-Mae Weekes as President, saying the Office of the President is of no use to the country in its present configuration.

Asked to respond to the Kangaloo nomination, Panday said, “she is a kind, nice, beautiful woman.

“Having said that, I maintain the Office of the President is useless under the present Constitution. It does not matter who holds that office. What matters is, are we going to amend the Constitution and make that office meaningful?

“I sympathise with her. She is going to that office but she would not be able to do anything. At the end of the day, she would reap the same rewards as the outgoing president, thinking she can do something which she cannot and people would make the same comments they are making about the incumbent.”

Panday has been advocating for Constitutional changes, including proportional representation and the election of the President by the majority of the electorate through the first past the post, one man-one vote system.

He has been ascribing for the winner to become the head of the executive arm of the government while the Parliament remains the legislative arm.

A large section of the population, he said, has begun to subscribe to the narrative that constitution reform is necessary, but believes neither the ruling PNM nor the opposition UNC are in synch with this thinking.

“Constitutional reform can about either peacefully, with the Opposition and Government agreeing and making the changes, or through a revolutionary change.

“History is replete with examples where people who desperately desire change, resort to violence. That, however, would be a sad thing for TT,” Panday said.

While Kangaloo may be qualified for the position, Panday said she would be able to do nothing meaningful to deal with the country’s problems unless the office gets the power to do so.

“All you have to do is look at the incumbent who is a bright person and is honest, sincere…but poor thing, she could do nothing. The same thing is going to happen to whoever is elected as President.”