Former prime minister Basdeo Panday has said the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Justice Anthony Carmona was a big "pappyshow" by the People's Partnership Government to gain political mileage.
Carmona, on March 18, will be officially sworn in as Trinidad and Tobago's fifth President at a ceremony at the Hasely Crawford Stadium at 4 p.m.
"I believe they are reducing the dignity of the inauguration of the President by making a pappyshow out of it, I think this is a PP thing, in which they want to continue the Carnival, so to speak," said Panday, speaking to the Express by phone yesterday.
"The inauguration of a President is not a Carnival event, it is a very sacred and solemn event and I don't think they should reduce it to a pappyshow, it lacks taste and decorum that is required of an inauguration," he added.
Panday questioned how is it that Carmona is being hailed as a man of the people when he was never involved in politics but sat as a judge.
"I think it is the PP that labelled him that way, they are using him for political purposes."
Panday said the money that will be expended on the swearing-in ceremony should be put to better productive use that will benefit the people.
"There are still not enough beds in the hospitals, people are still crying out for better roads, people are still complaining and the PP's spending money badly and they continue to do so merely for the maintenance and sustenance of their own power."
Panday said he has no problem with Carmona, as he sees him as a good choice.
"He is a good choice, but having been elected President, what difference is that going to make to the poor people of this country? What is required is constitutional reform, that is the issue."
In 2008, Panday, as then Opposition Leader of the United National Congress Alliance, also criticised the swearing-in ceremony of President George Maxwell Richards, which was held at Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Panday-led Opposition had boycotted the ceremony, saying that the President could have had his party at President's House instead of the stadium.
At that time, Panday also said there were more pressing issues to be dealt with in the country, such as crime, rather than to have a party for the President to take his oath of office.