Saturday, February 16, 2013

PM Kamla pays tribute to president-elect former presidents and persons who had been considered as nominees

Mr. Chairman, esteemed colleagues of the Electoral College. We have just witnessed another significant and momentous event in the history and continuing development of our country. In keeping with the tenets of our constitution and our commitment to maintain our sacred democracy, we have, with unanimous national commitment, elected our new President. 

The Presidency of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a commanding authority in our political and social landscape.
He is a person of the People, by the People and for the People. At the same time he must be above all the People. 

When my Government was elected approximately one thousand days ago, we knew of the enormous challenge that would come before us this fifteenth day of February 2013.

We were deeply conscious that we would have been required to nominate a candidate for the office of President during our term of office.
We were very mindful of our responsibility to ensure that the esteemed office of President was maintained with the highest traditions, consistent with the formidable responsibilities of the office. 

We fully recognised that the President was the tangible symbol – in both word and deed - of our democracy.

We shared the conviction that this office was the beacon of our collective endeavour to achieve our own unique place in this world and the meaningful embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of every single citizen of our beloved country.

Against this background, Mr. Chairman, after a most exhaustive and searching review, I had the honour and privilege on February 4th, to submit on behalf of my Government, a nomination, standing in my name and eleven of my colleagues, of Former Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, Senior Counsel, for selection as the fifth President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 

I am gratified that my Electoral College colleagues across the aisle saw it appropriate to fully support this nomination, which has indeed been welcomed by the entire national community.

President-Elect Carmona represents all that is good and noble in our beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.

He was born in the rural village of Los Charros, Palo Seco on March 7th 1953, to proud parents, Stephen and Barbara Carmona.
The family is devoutly Roman Catholic and this first born to his dear parents was christened Anthony Thomas Aquinas, after two exalted patron saints. 

He attended the Santa Flora Government Primary School, wrote the then Common entrance examination, and earned a place at Presentation College San Fernando, where his studies included Latin and English Literature. 

Education was always a priority emphasised by Stephen and Barbara Carmona for their six children, and we are told that after a hard day’s work, Stephen Carmona found the time each evening, as his wife Barbara, prepared the evening meal, to sit the children down and go through their lessons, one by one.

After ‘Prez”, President Elect Carmona taught briefly at the Fyzabad Secondary School and later at schools in Jamaica before entering the Mona Campus, UWI to read for his first degree in English and Politics.

He returned to Trinidad, remained committed to his community, and became a teacher at Palo Seco Government Secondary School.

He later joined the faculty of the University of the West Indies in the department of Languages and also tutored in Government, as well as Business Law at the San Fernando Technical Institute. During this period, he studied for his Law degree at Cave Hill, UWI, graduating with Honours from Sir Hugh Wooding Law School. 

On his graduation in 1983 he started an outstanding Public Service career as a State Counsel. 

In 1989 he became a Senior State Attorney, rising to Assistant, then Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and then acting as Director of the Division. 
And as we have just concluded our annual Carnival festival, it is instructive to note that Mr Carmona won a Calypso King Competition, in Jamaica, and many of our Southern folk may remember he even once faced the daunting Skinner Park crowd at Calypso Monarch semi-finals. 

In 2004 Former Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona was appointed a Judge on the Supreme High Court of Judicature of Trinidad and Tobago, following a very successful and notable assignment as an Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Court of Justice.

He also served as a legal Adviser to former President Arthur N R Robinson who championed the cause of an International Criminal Court.
Up to last week, he has been sitting as a highly respected member of the Bench, serving in the High Court in San Fernando. 

Last year he was appointed in the very first round of balloting by the Assembly of Parties, to be a Judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He was due to leave the country on March 1st to take up this appointment.

However it is noteworthy and it is a sterling tribute to his sense of patriotism that Former Justice Carmona chose to eschew that prestigious international appointment to accept my Government’s nomination and the country’s, widespread acclamation, to serve as our fifth President of the Republic.
Our new President elect and his wife, Reema, are the parents of two children – Christian, 12 and Anura 10. 

As you would note, Mr. Chairman the man Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona brings unique and special qualities to be our next Head of State.
He is guided by the deep spiritual convictions of his faith. He comes out of the bosom of and remains rooted in Trinidad and Tobago, equipped with a distinguished academic and legal career of over three decades.

He has been nurtured by loving parents and a family who instilled in him demonstrated qualities of high human and moral characteristics of fairness, humility and love.
Our new President elect is still very much a man of the People, but fully committed, without fear or favour, to universal Justice and equality. 

A man who is on equal with the highest echelons of our Land, but still rubbed shoulders with the ordinary folk on his regular journeys on the Water Taxi to and from San Fernando or joining hands with fellow parishioners at services at Assumption Church, Maraval, or at times at the Church of La Divina Pastora in Siparia on Sunday mornings.

In fact we saw him only a few days ago ‘playing mas’ with fellow revellers.

Mr. Chairman we have been blessed to have been well served in the past by leaders of distinction.

From our first Governor General, the eminent Sir Solomon Hochoy, followed by their Excellencies: Sir Ellis Clarke, Mr. Noor Hassanali, and Mr. Arthur N R Robinson and over the last ten years, His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards.
They have all left their indelible mark on our nation. 

In this context, on this occasion, I again pay public tribute to our outgoing President His Excellency Professor Richards who served us faithfully, with honour and dignity.

May I also say Mr. Chairman that it was reassuring to me and my Government that we had no shortage of fine men and women who were available for consideration as our next President.

Protocol and good sense will not allow me to name any of them but as Prime Minister it was heartening, albeit challenging, to read the resumes and achievements of the outstanding men and women who would have served our Republic admirably, if any of them were so chosen.

We believe, and in this we are surely gratified, that the entire nation has proclaimed support, that as a country we have now chosen wisely.

Today in this hallowed Chamber, we concluded another important formal step in the sequence of events that would on March 18th, culminate in Former Justice Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona being sworn in as the fifth President of Trinidad and Tobago.

As I said in my earlier statement to the Nation, the Presidency is no mere ceremonial position.
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 the country. 

On behalf of the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago, I extend congratulations to our President elect Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona and also offer to him our very best wishes on his 60th birthday, which he will celebrate in a few days.

I look forward in the months and years ahead, to my Government and the People of this country benefitting from the wisdom and guidance of this esteemed and noble son of our soil.

I thank all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, comprising the Electoral College, for their unanimous support of Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona to be our next President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

No comments:

Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai