Speaker Mark tipped for Presidency Hamid Ghany tipped for Speaker
By NALINEE SEELAL Saturday, January 5 2013
Political Scientist Dr Hamid Ghany is tipped to be Speaker of the House of Representatives to replace Wade Mark who Government plans to nominate for election as the country’s fifth President.
Ghany’s name has been circulated in some reports as a contender for the Presidency but senior sources say the university lecturer is Government’s choice to take over from Mark as House Speaker.
Sources said Government members are of the view that Ghany, a constitutional expert, has the knowledge, skills and experience to fill the position of Speaker.
Ghany has conducted consultations on constitutional reform for previous administrations, including a review of the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago for the current People’s Partnership Government.
In June 2012, Ghany chaired a Government- appointed committee, which included attorneys Martin George and Christlyn Moore (now Justice Minister), to engage Tobagonians in discussions on a green paper for Tobago self governance, leading to the drafting of the Constitutional (Amendment) (Tobago) Bill which will be debated in Parliament on January 16.
The country is expected to witness a flurry of activity in the Parliament next month, when nominations for the post of President takes place on February 5, to be followed by voting of the Electoral College on February 15.
Amid reports that he is Government’s preferred choice for the Presidency, sources report Mark received telephone calls from well-wishers and hearty congratulations from Parliament staff when he reported to his office yesterday.
Sources at the Parliament Chamber, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain told Newsday that when Mark arrived, several staff members walked up to him, shook his hands and congratulated him.
Sources told Newsday that a smiling Mark told his well-wishers that it was premature to shake his hands in congratulation and advised that he is still Speaker and will continue to hold that position, until otherwise advised.
Despite this, Mark, our sources reported, was swamped with telephone calls from close friends and others wanting to congratulate him. When Newsday contacted Mark for comment yesterday, he declined to say anything on reports that he is the frontrunner among a list of three, which also includes Queen’s Counsel Karl Hudson-Phillips and Senior Counsel Kenneth Lalla. Of the three, Mark is the youngest at age 60.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Lalla, a former chairman of both the Public Service and Police Service commissions, said he was not surprised to learn that he is being considered for the country’s highest position.
“This is not the first time that my name has been highlighted as a prospective President of Trinidad and Tobago, so I am not in any way overwhelmed. I feel very pleased to be acknowledged as a person who has in some little measure made a contribution to my country to be considered worthy of the post of President of the nation,” Lalla said. Attempts by Newsday to reach Hudson-Phillips for a comment yesterday were unsuccessful. The second term of George Maxwell Richards, 82, the fourth President, ends on March 17. Although he is the current presiding officer of the Lower House, sources report Mark is favoured for the Presidency for demonstrating loyalty, fairness and transparency in the Parliament.