UNC: Will gospel of the PNM be spread in President’s House?

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

REMEMBER WHEN: This 2007 file photo shows former prime minister Patrick Manning, left, and former minister in the office of the PM, Dr Lenny Saith – both deceased – with then PNM MP Christine Kangaloo, on the political hustings. Kangaloo, now Senate President, is poised to become the country’s next President. – FILE PHOTO

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has completely rejected Senate President Christine Kangaloo as the Prime Minister’s nominee for President, saying Kangaloo is a stting politician, a member of the ruling PNM and a government-appointee.

She made her feelings clear at a press conference on Friday, moments after Dr Rowley announced Kangaloo’s nomination.

She said the UNC’s parliamentary caucus unanimously rejects Kangaloo’s nomination and will put forward a name by Saturday, as its choice for that office.

Speaking at her office on Charles Street, Port of Spain, Persad-Bissessar said: “This shows that government has no respect for non-partisan people in this post. Kangaloo contested the seat in Pointe-a-Pierre against Wade Mark.

“Her whole family is in bed with the PNM! And he (Rowley) wants to say apolitical? Her father was a former PNM mayor, she married into a family that sits on state boards, her husband gets all state briefs.

“When she was on the platform she told people to spread the gospel of the PNM. Will she take the gospel of the PNM and spread it in President’s House,” an incredulous Persad-Bissessar asked.

“We are the government-in-waiting. We must have our say, and this one seriously angers me. It is appalling, it is atrocious to put a sitting politician in this high, exalted office. We will have our say. They will have our way on the 20th, they have the majority but we must not go down without our voices being heard, and I call on all right-thinking citizens to let government know this is totally unacceptable.

“I intend to ask the PM to reconsider the nominee and share with him other people we’re talking to.”

Persad-Bissessar said the Prime Minister had previously said he would not nominate an active politician but government was audacious and boldfaced in putting Kangaloo forward, while trying to convince people that she is not a sitting politician. “She was appointed by government as a Senator.”

She said many people did not realise how powerful the Office of the President was.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaking at a press conference on Friday at her office in Charles Street, Port of Spain. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI –

“The President will appoint nine independent senators, more senators than the Opposition. The President appoints a lot of commissions and bodies that should be independent, service commissions, the Integrity Commission et cetera. These are not light duties, these things govern and guide us in so many ways within our constitutional framework and democracy.”

She said the parliamentary caucus, which consisted of the UNC’s national executive and the parliamentary representatives, met on Thursday evening, and while they did not finalise a nominee, they are concerned about putting a sitting politician as the nominee or to hold the office.

“We are talking to several people. They don’t belong to either party and are private citizens, and I don’t want their names jumping up.

“I will share these names with you tomorrow to put forward a nominee of our own because we cannot go to that Parliament and allow that nomination to go free, as happened with the current President. When we select a nominee, we will share it with the Prime Minister first as per protocol.

Persad-Bissessar said there is need for reform and the concept of an executive presidency could provide a level ground for choosing an appropriate Head of State.