Respect Office of the President

President Christine Kangaloo - Ayanna Kinsale
President Christine Kangaloo - Ayanna Kinsale


“LET NONE presume to wear an undeserved dignity,” our Opposition Leader quoted from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice as to her reason for not attending the inauguration ceremony of President Christine Kangaloo.

The quote, however, continues, “O, that estates degrees and offices were not derived corruptly, and that clear honour were purchased by the merit of the wearer.” The question begs: what is the relevance of this quote with regard to the dignity/appointment of our President?

In our society, where we are pleading/praying for less crime, respect for each other, compassion and unity, our leaders should be setting a proper example. However, the Opposition chose to treat the inauguration of our president, the country’s highest office, with disdain/contempt. If members of the Opposition can show disrespect for the highest office in the country, what can they expect from our citizens, inclusive of our children?

There was absolutely no breach in our Constitution with regard to Kangaloo’s election as President and precedent was set when ANR Robinson, a sitting Cabinet minister, was elected president (nominated by none other than our current Opposition Leader). As a matter of fact, Kangaloo received the maximum votes she could have expected barring the Opposition.

The Opposition has been speaking about dictatorship and puppets, but none of the19 elected MPs and six UNC senators, yes, 25, “burst their strings” and attended the inauguration, claiming, it seems, that they are "all of the same mind.”

The Opposition expects the public to believe that there was no mandate preventing any UNC parliamentarian from attending the inauguration. Among the feeble excuses espoused by the opposition members were previous plans, other commitments and Kangaloo was not the best person for the job.

The Opposition Chief Whip said that “the Opposition has always and will always respect the Office of the President.” Yet no one turned up – and they are speaking about dictatorship. The only explanation I can proffer for their non-attendance is the fear of “backlash,” especially when three members from the Opposition side broke ranks when the Electoral College voted for the president and spoilt their ballots.

So, I will add another quote, from Anthony Eden, a former prime minister of the UK: “Nothing is more destructive of human dignity than a rule which imposes a mute and blind obedience.”

Notwithstanding all of this, our new President extended the olive branch to all detractors, made a case for a better TT without acrimony and welcomes the youth and public into her house. She cited Merchant’s invitation (not the Merchant of Venice) in song, “Let us forget spites and grudges and concentrate" and “come, let us sit and try to relate.”

The new president added, “My words do not need to be shouted in the public square. There is 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 by example.”

Dignity personified!

International Women’s Day was celebrated recently and history was created in our country when a woman was appointed as the Commissioner of Police. And to add icing on the cake, we now have a second woman as a head of state. Shouldn't we laud and respect these accomplishments?

The Opposition Leader’s message on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023 said, “equality of opportunity is essential for human progress and women are unavoidably only the bridge between generations. Therefore, what we invest in women’s development as a society is ultimately the foundation upon which future generations of both women and men will build. Let us, therefore, work together to build a society and nation that is fair, just and inclusive for everyone, in every sphere of life, for this is truly the greatest legacy we can bequeath to our children and posterity."

Madam Opposition Leader, please practise what you preach and give Kangaloo the respect she deserves in her quest to create her own legacy.


"Respect Office of the President"

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