The Trinidad & Tobago Head of State is elected by an electoral college comprising all members of Parliament. The president is chosen by a simple majority.
In an official statement Persad-Bissessar said her government has taken note of the intense discussion on the matter, adding that "it has been heartening to witness the interest of the public in this matter", which she said "demonstrates that our citizens are conscious of the importance of the role of the President." She added, "In addition it showed that our citizens are alive to the role which they are expected to play in matters of governance."
She assured citizens that she has been actively engaged in discussions and consultations with both members of the Cabinet as well as with citizens and organizations in different walks of life as to their views and nominees for the post of President.
She also stated that the media have played an important role in stimulating the public discussions "and they must be commended for so doing".
The Prime Minister said she is "proud to say that the country possesses many persons who are quite capable of filling the post of President and carrying out the associated functions with dignity, humility and competence.
"I was impressed though with the quality of the discussions I had especially in the context of the criteria proposed by citizens for the holder of the Office of President."
She explained that because the election is not one in which the electorate participates there is an even greater responsibility "upon those of us in the electoral college to ensure that the person chosen is accepted nationally".
She also addressed concerns expressed "in some quarters" that the government is taking too long to nominate a person for the presidency or that the Government does not have a nominee.
"This is a decision that must be carefully thought out especially in a society that is as complex as ours.
"We have seen the importance of the President in our country on several occasions, including the coup of 1990 when the matter of an Amnesty arose as well as in 2001 when there was a tie in the election results.
"The President also has the power to make appointments in his own right and can also stands as a voice of reason and moderation in our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
"The right person has to be chosen.
"The choice is one which will also bind us as a nation for the next five years."I wish to assure the public that the process for nomination of a President is well advanced and an announcement as to who is the government’s nominee will be made on Monday February 4th, 2013," she said.
Persad-Bissessar also said she disagrees with the view that the names of all those being considered should be made public.
"I believe that persons who are under consideration should be afforded the highest level of confidentiality, unless they choose to make known otherwise. In the process of choosing a President, it should always be conducted with dignity," she said.
"The process for choosing a President is well laid out in our system.
"Unless that is changed the government will faithfully adhere to that process as contained in our Constitution and, nominate the person whom it considers to be the best person to serve our nation with dignity and bring respect and fame to our country." she said.