THE EDITOR: There seems to be much hype around the appointment of the first female president in TT and it is definitely warranted. What a milestone! After less than 50 years as a republic our women have been able to break the barriers to hold the offices of prime minister and now president. Not even the US has had a female president after over 200 years. Definitely something to be proud of as our women can aspire to become anything they want to in our country.
However, the question is what can the president truly effectively do? The short answer is really nothing other than just act as a figurehead.
What we have here is a ceremonial president, not to be confused with the enormous power that the US President and other presidential heads of government wield. Too often people think the TT President can just wave a wand and make things happen in our country. However, that can only happen if constitutional reform allows for the president to have more decision-making authority.
As it stands the president can appoint nine independent senators to the Parliament, who are outnumbered in the Senate by the opposition and government senators. The executive arm of the State, headed by the Prime Minister, controls all the power and definitely does not seem excited to give it up.
By and large we have a toothless President who is just a burden to the taxpayer because of the lack of ability outlined by the constitution to effect any concrete changes. Toothless in the sense that all the President can do is bark but never bite.
We can only hope that the Government will propose real concrete changes by initiating constitutional reform which this country so badly needs.