THE Greater Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC) congratulated its former president Richie Sookhai on his appointment as a government senator on Wednesday.
In a statement, the chamber said Sookhai resigned as its president before assuming his senatorial post. He takes the spot vacated by former Senate president Christine Kangaloo who is government's nominee to succeed President Paula-Mae Weekes.
Commenting on his resignation from the chamber, Sookhai said, "During my tenure at the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce I gained many insights which I will call upon as I move into this new role.
“I wholeheartedly thank the directors of the CCIC board for their support and wish them the best as they chart forward into the future.”
The chamber expressed confidence that Sookhai's new appointment will redound to the benefit of the people of Chaguanas and TT.
New chamber president Baldath Maharaj said while Sookhai’s resignation is a loss to the people of Chaguanas, his appointment to the Senate is "certainly an asset to the institution in which he now serves."
He described Sookhai as someone who "always had the country at heart and personally contributed to individuals and organisations in need."
Maharaj said, "His networking abilities spans across borders as well. He is an excellent example for others to emulate.”
Maharaj was chamber vice-president before Sookhai's senatorial appointment. He has been a member of the chamber's board of directors for the last 12 years.
Chamber secretary Dr Vaalmiki Arjoon has succeeded Maharaj as chamber vice-president.
Government senator Nigel De Freitas replaced Kangaloo as Senate President while Dr Muhammad Yunus Ibrahim remains as Senate Vice-President.
The Electoral College, which comprises all members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, will sit at the Red House from 1.30 pm on Friday to elect Weekes' successor.
The Opposition UNC has rejected Kangaloo’s nomination and nominated attorney Israel Khan, SC, as its presidential nominee.
With a combined vote of 37 (22 MPs, 15 senators), the Government holds the majority vote in the college. This means whoever the Government chooses as its nominee will be elected as the next President of the Republic.
The Opposition has a combined vote of 24 (19 MPs, six senators).
The nine independent senators, who are chosen solely by the President under the Constitution, have one vote each.
Weekes, a retired Justice of Appeal, took office as President on 19 March, 2018, after being elected on January 19, that year.
She demits office in March.