Chief Justice Ivor Archie said yesterday Justice Anthony Carmona’s ascension to the country’s highest office comes in challenging times.
In a media release issued yesterday, Archie said Carmona will assume office “in challenging circumstances” that require all of our national leaders to demonstrate extraordinary restraint, maturity, even-handedness and strength in the face of the agents of division and discord among us, which can tear us apart.
Archie said he is encouraged by the fact that Carmona’s nomination has attracted broad consensus and hopes it will be a catalyst for an increasingly bipartisan approach to the conduct of the country’s national affairs.
“In this context, the Honourable the Chief Justice warmly congratulates Mr Justice Carmona and joins with the nation in praying, on his behalf, for wisdom, fortitude and success in the exalted and challenging office of Head of State,” the release stated.
Carmona was announced as the next president on Monday by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to replace outgoing President George Maxwell Richards.
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC said he worked with Carmona for a number of years at the DPP’s office, during which time he observed Carmona harboured many “sterling attributes”.
“He taught me a lot, not only about the criminal law and its ultimate objectives but, also, by example as a person, by way of his humanity, grace, genteelness and humility.
“At this time, a person with his character and personality is ideally suited to provide leadership for the nation and, indeed, to preserve our social equipoise, given the particular and sometimes peculiar cocktail of ingredients which informs the bedrock of our national personality,” Gaspard said.
“I salute him, his family, and as a fellow southerner, I extend my most copious congratulations, confidence, that he will continue to appreciate that the world is charged by the grandeur of God, larger than the vanity of mankind,” Gaspard added.
Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, who worked with Carmona on the Drug Treatment Court Steering Committee, described Carmona as very passionate for people and making things better, and he is a genuine person.
Former independent senator Dana Seetahal SC, who spoke to the Express on Monday, said Carmona is “well suited” for the position of president. Seetahal said Carmona’s background as a judge will serve the presidency well.
“From my personal acquaintanceship with him, he is an extremely affable and caring person,” Seetahal said.
Vice-president of the Criminal Bar Association Sophia Chote SC congratulated Carmona on his nomination, saying his legal experience and sterling reputation as advocate and judge will “certainly be an asset” which he would bring to the presidency.
“His character is unimpeachable and his career in public service is unblemished. As someone who has managed to maintain his sense of humour and humility in his discharge of his public duties, it is clear that his nomination will make this candidate a president for the people. He will be an inspiration to many people from different walks of life,” Chote said.