Carmona to get ‘instrument of appointment’ tomorrow
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, February 17 2013
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Members of Parliament and Senators of the Peoples' Partnership stand at attention for the playing of the National Anthem on Friday at the eighth meeti...
As a child, he felt that he would have never amount to much. But now that most of the protocols have been observed, the stage is set for Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona to become Trinidad and Tobago’s fifth President, the youngest in the nation’s history.
Carmona’s life and that of his family will change in ways he never thought possible.
The Santa Flora-born Carmona, 59, who served as a Puisine judge of the Supreme Court of TT for the past nine years, is expected to be officially installed as the country’s new Head of State on March 18. The oath of office will be administered by Chief Justice Ivor Archie during an inauguration ceremony, possibly at a public venue.
The ceremony takes place one day after President George Maxwell Richards, 82, formally demits office, after serving two consecutive terms.
However, tomorrow, in an historic first, Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade Mark will present a report of the Electoral College — which some regard as an instrument of appointment — to Carmona in person during a simple ceremony at a reception lounge of the Parliament.
Carmona, the sole nominee to be this country’s President, was confirmed in the post during the Eight Meeting of the Electoral College in the Parliament Chamber at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain on Friday.
Mark declared Carmona to be the next President in accordance with Section 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Regulation 9 (1)(b) of the Electoral College Regulations of 1976.
Carmona’s nomination was also accepted by the Opposition People’s National Movement, civil society and other interest groups.
The father of two, who celebrates his 60th birthday on March 7, brings to the Presidency, a distinguished career in public service, backed by strong family values, unshakeable faith and integrity above reproach.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking at the meeting of the Electoral College, alluded to these traits. “He has been nurtured by loving parents and a family who instilled in him and demonstrated qualities of the highest human and moral character; of faith, fairness, humility and love. He is guided by the deep spiritual convictions of his faith,” she told the Electoral College.
“He comes out of the bosom of and remains rooted in Trinidad and Tobago, equipped with a distinguished academic and legal career spanning over three decades.”
The Prime Minister regarded Carmona as “a man of the people, on equal with the highest echelons of our Land” but one who mingled with ordinary folk whether it was during his trips on the water taxi to and from San Fernando or joining hands with fellow parishioners during services at Church of the Assumption in Maraval or at the La Divina Pastora Church in Siparia on Sunday mornings.
Indeed, Carmona, during his stint on the bench, has made numerous headlines, especially as it related to the human condition, the country’s crime situation and the apparent indifference of some in society to the menace.
Most recently, during one of his sittings in the San Fernando Second Criminal Court, he expressed shock that there was no public outcry over the shooting of eight people in Beetham Gardens, Port-of-Spain.
The persons, who included three women, were seriously injured when men opened fire on them as they played dominoes at a house in Beetham Gardens on the night of January 17. One of the men subsequently died.
Had the shootings occured in the United States, Carmona said, it would have made world news.
“There has been a type of muted response....As a society, we can’t be insensitive to the dilemma faced by law-abiding citizens,” he said.
During her address to the Electoral College on Friday, Persad-Bissessar also noted Carmona’s suitability in meeting the demands of the exalted office.
Stressing that the office of President was not a ceremonial position, as is widely perceived, the Prime Minister said: “Our President is the vital and critical collective voice and conscience of our people. His role in our Republic is far reaching, decisive, constant and always vigilant. His impact will be experienced in all spheres of our national life and by citizens throughout our twin- island Republic.”
In the meantime, Carmona has already begun to make the transition from legal luminary to the highest public office in the land.
On Friday, he cleared out his office and said farewell to staff at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, where he had worked for many years.