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Tuesday 20 November 2018
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Paula-Mae with mom in Diego

President Paula-Mae Weekes poses during her  first official duty, the swearing-in of Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal, Mrs Donna Prowell-Raphael. Photo by Rattan Jadoo.
President Paula-Mae Weekes poses during her first official duty, the swearing-in of Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal, Mrs Donna Prowell-Raphael. Photo by Rattan Jadoo.

UPDATE:

True to her words, prior to being sworn in, President Paula-Mae Weekes has not taken up residence at the cottage at President’s House in St Ann’s, but continues to live at her private home in Diego Martin in order to take care of her elderly mother Phyllis.

“She has her normal presidential security and her detail which is normally afforded to presidents.

Nothing out of the ordinary,” stated Cheryl Lala, a communications consultant yesterday at the swearing in of Equal Opportunities Tribunal chairman Donna Prowell-Raphael and members of the Fair Trading Commission, chaired by banker Dr Ronald Ramkissoon, at the cottage.

In an interview with Newsday, weeks before she was sworn-in, Weekes had indicated her preference to staying with her mother which was the norm even when she was a High Court judge.

Lala told Newsday the official titles of new staff at President’s House are still being worked out but did reveal that the President’s aide-de-camp is Defence Force officer Major Lesley-Ann Mohammed.

Asked about the change of venue for the swearing-in from the upstairs office used by immediate past president Anthony Carmona, to the cottage which is at the rear of the grounds, Lala said this was a matter of the President’s personal choice.

Likewise, when asked about the protocol of Weekes staying seated during much of the swearing-in, Lala attributed this to personal preference. At a previous public engagement, Weekes admitted to sometimes suffering back pain.

Contacted for comment, former communications manager under former president Carmona, Theron Boodan, said he is enjoying retirement and is due to take a few foreign trips, including a European cruise.

Boodan suggested the handover could have been smoother between staff of the two successive administrations.

Recalling that he had been initially inducted by his predecessor Michaela Fredericks, Boodan said no such procedure had happened with him and Lala.

“Now the media is always calling me to find out this and that, but a transition period of say, one week, would have been a better way to go,” Boodan opined. “This is the succession way.

“The Office of President is unique in terms of protocol and communication with the media, and you need to know how to work with it.” Boodan said the new team at President’s House has not contacted him for help or to extend courtesies, but had just left him to demit office.

Boodan said he was enjoying restful days, even as he fondly recalled the hectic work schedule of Carmona. “I’m at home now and this is a nice thing. I would consider myself retired now,” Boodan said.

ORIGINAL STORY:

PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes is not taking up official residence at President's House, St Ann's, but continues to live at her private home in Diego Martin which she shares with her elderly mother.

Newsday learnt this yesterday at the swearing-in of Equal Opportunities Tribunal chairman Donna Prowell-Raphael and members of the Fair Trade Commission chaired by banker Dr Ronald Ramkissoon at the cottage at President's House.

Guiding media personnel at the event was Cheryl Lala, a communications consultant, who told Newsday that official titles of staff at President's House are still to be worked out.

She identified the President's aide-de-camp as the Defence Force's Major Lesley-Ann Mohammed.

Asked about the change of location of the swearing-in from the upstairs office used by former president Anthony Carmona to the cottage at the rear of the grounds, Lala said it was just a matter of the personal choice of each president.

Likewise when asked about the protocol of Weekes staying seated during much of the swearing-in, Lala similarly attributed this to personal preference.

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