Helon Francis, winner of the 2018 Calypso Monarch and Young King and Song of the Year winner in 2016, is now the youngest independent senator in the current Parliament.
The 29-year-old said he is grateful, thankful and appreciative of his new appointment – which he was not expecting. He was speaking to members of the media during the reception of Parliament's reopening at the Red House on Monday.
Speaking on his hopes of contribution and impact in the Parliament, he said, "Hopefully, it's a positive one."
As for his focus in the Parliament, he plans to "expand on something brand new."
"Obviously, I am based in culture, but this is our country, so knowing the entire country and knowing there's more than just culture alone. I am going to focus on as many aspects as possible."
Asked about his thoughts about the current crime situation and President Christine Kangaloo's call for collaboration to enact laws to reduce the crime rate, he said, "I think you know what everyone feels about crime, that's self-explanatory. So I can understand the President's sentiments."
Francis is among four new independent senators: Sunity Maharaj, Dr Sharda Patasar and Professor Gerard A Hutchinson. They were selected by Kangaloo to join the Senate and were sworn in during Parliament's reopening ceremony.
The four replaced outgoing senators Amrita Deonarine, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, Charrise Seepersad and Evan Welch.
Hutchinson is a professor of psychiatry and the unit lead in the psychiatry unit of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UWI. Maharaj is a career journalist who has worked in print and broadcast for over 45 years and has headed the Media Association of TT and the Commonwealth Journalists Association.
Patasar was described as a multidisciplinary artist who also teaches and writes on culture.