Attorney General Anand Ramlogan claims the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) never consulted Justice Rolston Nelson SC before submitting his name for consideration for the post of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Last Friday, the PNM submitted Nelson as a candidate for consideration for “consensus talks” with the government.
Ramlogan yesterday told the Sunday Express: “I have spoken personally to Justice Nelson and he has conveyed to me his shock and surprise over the fact that the PNM has taken the liberty to put forward his name as the PNM’s nominee for the Office of President. The learned judge indicated that this was done without his knowledge, consent or permission and there was no prior consultation far less discussion with him about his name being proposed as the PNM’s candidate.”
Ramlogan said that up until last week the PNM did not propose any name for consideration when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar met with Opposition Chief Whip Marlene McDonald.
“It is clear therefore that the PNM, in what is a clear attempt to steal a political march on the government on this most important issue, has tainted and compromised the selection of someone who would otherwise be eminently qualified for consideration. Instead of quietly submitting names to the government for it to consider, it has resorted to political gamesmanship by publicising Justice Nelson as its party’s nominee. This kind of one-upmanship can only compromise the selection process which the Constitution intended to be treated in a most sacred and confidential manner. Indeed, this is how the election of a President was dealt with on all previous occasions,” he said.
Ramlogan pointed out that he had also spoken to president of the CCJ Sir Dennis Bryon who indicated that he was unaware of this development concerning one of his judges.
“One would expect the president of a court to at least be informed or consulted if one of his judges had agreed to allow their names to be proposed as the PNM’s nominee for the head of state position,” he said.
“This shows the PNM is not interested in genuine and meaningful dialogue to arrive at a consensus candidate. It is clear that they are operating in bad faith,” he said.
The government is to identify its candidate tomorrow.