While saying the Government can’t be trusted, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition will work with it to choose a president who will prevent abuses by the executive, in a statement ahead of her meeting today (Friday) with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Her statement came after she had chaired a United National Congress (UNC) caucus at Debe Waterpark on Wednesday on the topic.
She said she wanted a candidate who is “impartial, will prevent excesses and abuses by the executive, and will ensure we adhere to our constitutional rights and remits. “We look forward to having mature discussions with the Government on this most important matter that affects each and every citizen,” she said, “particularly in light of the current situation in our country, where we are witnessing our institutions failing, and a Government on the verge of collapse, with the economy in decline and crime out of control.” She said these talks must ensure the person elected by the Electoral College discharges the functions of that office in a way that “adheres to the Constitution and the rule of law, preserves the separation of powers, and (is) not be a puppet to the current executive.”
Persad-Bissessar recalled that under the administration she had led, efforts were made to reach a consensus in the nomination of a candidate to be President, and ultimately the Opposition at the time supported the candidate proposed by her Government. She related the President’s constitutional role in ensuring good governance and protecting the country’s democracy, including appointing judges and independent senators, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and members of bodies such as the Integrity Commission.
“It is imperative that the person elected to this office is impartial and independent, and possesses the strength and courage to resist any attempts at manipulation by the Government.
“The Opposition is seeking to guard against any potential abuses by this Government, which has shown that it cannot be trusted. The record of this administration is not one that commands the trust and confidence of the population.”