Sunday, January 21, 2018

PNM to name presidential nominee

THE People's National Movement (PNM) Opposition will be deliberating on the presidential election and will have its nominee ready by nomination day on February 5, says Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi.

"Government having now set the date for the nomination for President, we will certainly be considering the issue before us and making our position apparent by nomination day, which isn't too far off," he told the Express yesterday.

Al-Rawi said Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was in Tobago and he (Rowley) will be speaking to the issue in due course.

Communication Minister Jamal Mohammed announced on Thursday that House Speaker Wade Mark has set the date of February 15 for a meeting of the electoral college to elect a new President.

Political analyst Dr Winford James told the Express in a telephone interview that the Constitutional (Amendment) (Tobago) Bill 2012 will have an impact on the President's role and constitution reform.

"The question is how do you reinvigorate, renew and transform the Office of the President in the context of constitutional change," said James.

He noted that Tobago is looking for change in the form of a "federal Government"—where it is proposed that Tobago be a self-governing state.

"In such context the role of a President comes into review," said James adding that when the Tobago Bill is laid in the Parliament on Monday the country would know the Government's position- whether there would be new roles for the President.

"The other option is to keep the status quo, the UNC-led coalition is going to do—as most governments have done—to pick somebody who's politically well disposed toward the dominant party," said James.

"There might be greater ease for the Prime Minister in the way she governs," he said.

However, he pointed out that when Basdeo Panday was Prime Minister and ANR Robinson was President there were problems as Robinson delayed recommendations made by Panday—that losers in the general election be appointed Senators.