Griffith: Refreshing tone from Kangaloo

Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith - SUREASH CHOLAI
Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith - SUREASH CHOLAI

NATIONAL Transformation Alliance (NTA) political leader Gary Griffith welcomed the refreshing tone set by President Christine Kangaloo in her inaugural address.

She spoke of some of the objectives she will pursue as she begins her five-year term of office.

Griffith, a former commissioner of police (CoP) and national security minister, said, "It is left to be seen if she can stand firm against political influence."

In her address after being sworn in at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Monday, Kangaloo said she proposed to achieve many goals during her presidency through relentless advocacy.

“I will devote all of my energy to advocating for better conditions, for better arrangements, for better platforms, and for better opportunities for all.”

Kangaloo was clear that relentlessness did not mean that "I must be combative or belligerent. Far from it. That is not my way.

“My way is to be your diplomat-in-chief, making the case for a better TT firmly, but without acrimony or bitterness. My words do not need to be shouted in the public square.”

Kangaloo added, “There is already too much shouting going on in our country today. I believe that we all need to be calmer and more reflective.

“And I propose to lead in that regard, by example.”

In a statement, Griffith said, "The inaugural address of our seventh President, Christine Kangaloo, was very passionate and more inspirational and respectful to the citizens she serves, in her first day, than the five years of our previous president, Paula-Mae Weekes.Griffith also welcomed Kangaloo's intention of "promising openness, accessibility, and a demystification of the role of president."

He claimed this was in contrast to Weekes, who "treated President’s House as more of the shrine of an individual who preferred to pontificate and talk down to citizens, often times disrespecting our intelligence."

Griffith was impressed by Kangaloo's inclusive and statesman-like approach.

"Her promises of stellar representation to those she serves, is very relevant at this time."

Griffith warned that many independent institutions are under attack by the Prime Minister and the PNM's hierarchy, "who seem hell-bent on turning TTT into a full-blown dictatorship."

Against this background, Griffith said, "It is hoped that Kangaloo would not treat President’s House as a coffee shop, where politicians can show up to have meetings with high-ranking officials of independent bodies, with the aftermath being the crime of the removal of a sitting CoP."This was a reference to the withdrawal of a list of Police Service Commission (PSC) nominees for COP which was withdrawn after it had been presented to Weekes. PSC members later resigned.

Referring to his tenures as CoP and national minister, when, he said, he refused to be a puppet to anyone, Griffith said, "It is my sincerest hope that President Kangaloo does the same, that she does not bow to political pressure, and that she adheres to her constitutional duty without fear or favour."

Griffith warned that if Kangaloo "wavers from these ideals, her reputation will be irrevocably stained, and her legacy destroyed."

He claimed this is what Weekes and Rowley are facing.


"Griffith: Refreshing tone from Kangaloo"

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