‘TT’s next President, Anthony Carmona’
By ANDRE BAGOO Thursday, February 14 2013
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HIS EXCELLENCY: Justice Anthony Carmona, to be announced tomorrow by House Speaker Wade Mark, as the country's next President....
THE SITTING of the Electoral College tomorrow, will be open to the general public but seating will be done on a first come first serve basis, Parliament staff said yesterday. The Electoral College which is the House of Representatives and Senate, “assembled together”, will meet at the International Waterfront Centre in Port-of-Spain at 2 pm. The sitting, to be chaired by Speaker Wade Mark, is expected to last about half-an-hour.
Newsday understands Mark yesterday issued instructions to Clerk of the House Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, requesting a copy of the curriculum vitae (CV) of sole nominee for the post of President, Justice Anthony Carmona, be distributed to all members of the College.
It is understood that such a move is unprecedented, as in years gone past College members have not received such a document. In any event, there will be no change in the formal proceedings which sees no debate but simply a nomination speech and then the chairman’s declaration of the President. There is only one nominee – proposed by 12 Government MPs and the matter will not go to secret ballot nor will there be any seconding of the nomination.
The 12 Opposition MPs were not able to submit a nominee because San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning distanced himself from the process ostensibly on the basis of ill health.
The meeting of the Electoral College will not be followed by any ceremony or reception and is expected to be a sparse affair in contrast with the formal inauguration in March. The new President will be sworn in on March 18, at Knowsley. Unlike the meeting of the Electoral College, that event will be by invitation only.
As was the case with the ceremonial opening of Parliament last year, for tomorrow’s sitting two rows of extra chairs will be placed in the Parliament chamber at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre, the temporary home of the Parliament. The extra chairs will be to accommodate having all 40 MPs (it is not known if Manning, who is on extended leave from Parliament will attend) as well as all 30 Senators in the same chamber.
The Speaker will rise after the 2 pm start and, in a short statement, outline the basis for the convening of the Electoral College. He will state there is only one nominee and then declare Carmona to be President, after the nomination is presented by a Government MP — likely to be Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Persad-Bissessar is expected to deliver a speech of nomination lasting no more than 15 minutes. The speech – like all past nominations speeches – will be vetted by the Speaker 24 hours in advance. The speech will relate exclusively to the merits of Carmona’s nomination. No debate of this speech will be allowed and no replies will be allowed. This was the case when previous first-time nominations were made for all of the previous presidents.
The Speaker will then say Carmona was the only person nominated for the post and, “therefore in accordance with Section 31 of the Constitution, Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona is hereby declared President of the Republic.” Dr Roodal Moonilal, the Government Chief Whip, will then move that the College be adjourned.