You are here
Nothing to stop President from third term
There is no constitutional bar to having a president serve a third term, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday. But Government has made no decision on whether President George Maxwell Richards would be asked to serve a third term, the PM later told reporters. She spoke about the issue during her address to the House of Representatives in its first session after the ceremonial opening of the third session of the Tenth Parliament.
President Richards had earlier addressed the opening session of both Houses of Parliament at the Parliament’s location at the International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain, the first ceremonial opening at the new location, which is being used while the Red House is renovated. In his address, Richards thanked the office of the Parliament for its co-operation with the Office of the President.
He also quipped that yesterday’s speech would not be long, since it was the “last time that such a privilege will be afforded to me.” Persad-Bissessar, in her statement to the House, said Richards’ address yesterday was the last official one he would make at a ceremonial opening of Parliament in his second term as President .
She noted Richards was elected in 2003 and again in 2008 and his second term ends in 2013, The PM added that while Richards might have appeared to be saying that was his last address,“I will say no decision has been taken on that matter and this is indeed only the last official statement in his second term of office.”
She added: “Further, I’m sure His Excellency’s deep interest in education, his long service to our great republic and his dedication to the citizens of our nation will keep him involved in our progress and development.” Persad-Bissessar thanked Richards for his decade of service. Speaking to reporters after the function, she said a decision on the election of a President was done by the Electoral College.
“Nothing precludes him (Richards) from serving. It will depend on the votes that take place in the Electoral College,” she added. Asked how the issue could play out, since Government had the majority of votes in the Electoral College, Persad-Bissessar said: “The Government has not deliberated in this matter and no decision has been taken on candidacy on the Government side and it will be premature to say a name.”
In her address yesterday, the PM, noting the upcoming 50th Independence celebrations, caused murmurs of surprise and then applause when she said: “Today I want to recognise the father of our nation, the honourable Dr Eric Williams.” She said Williams brought T&T to Independence. “We owe him a debt of gratuitude,” she added. Persad-Bissessar also said she respectfully disagreed with President Richards’ statement that T&T’s only innovation was the pan.
She said T&T was known throughout the world also for its creativity, harmony and diversity. The PM said Government also would continue its thrust for equal opportunity and social justice, issues, she noted, on which Richards had spoken.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.