Former Independent senator Dana Seetahal and former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas both believe Independent senators appointed by George Maxwell Richards should offer their resignations to Justice Anthony Carmona when he assumes office as president.
Seetahal said yesterday that Independent senators did offer their resignations to Richards when he became President in 2003. Seetahal, who was part of that group, had been initially appointed by Arthur NR Robinson.
However, the Senior Counsel stressed it was not Jack Warner’s place or business to call for such resignations.
“It is really an issue for the President,” she noted.
Both Seetahal and Dumas were however of the view that members of the independent Service Commission, who were appointed following consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, should not resign.
They were asked to comment on the statement by National Security Minister Jack Warner that all persons appointed by Richards should do the honourable thing and resign.
She recalled when the Independents senators offered their resignations to Richards, he said he was quite happy with the persons who were senators at the time. “I think it is important to offer (the resignations) because it is the only thing that the president does in his own discretion under the Constitution,” she said.
“The Independent senators should at least offer their resignations to the President to give the new president the opportunity to say “yea or nay” on whether he wishes to keep them because he might feel that he has no problem with some of them or any of them,” Dumas stated.
“I am not saying they must resign, but certainly, they should offer their resignations. There is a distinction.... I don’t think that the new president should be saddled with choices made by his predecessor. Others may feel differently. But I don’t feel it is fair to the president,” he said.
On the issue of the resignations of commissioners on the Service Commissions, Dumas held a different position.
“It is not only the president (involved in these appointments), there has to be consultation first. It is a little awkward to say they must resign after they have been put there by the President, following consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition, both of whom are still there.”
He added he would need to think further on this issue.
Seetahal noted that apart from the selection of the Independent senators, every other appointment made by the president was made either on the advice of the Government, Opposition or after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
“And if they were properly consulted, I do not see any need (for commissioners on the Service Commissions to resign),” she said.
Seetahal said she believed the current Independent senators were people of integrity and ethics and did not need anyone to tell them what to do.
On the nomination of Justice Anthony Carmona, Seetahal said it was good that he was the one candidate of those proposed who was acceptable to both sides.
She said the personality and character of Justice Carmona would do a lot for the office of the presidency. She said he has a warm, caring, outgoing and affable personality.
She said the fact that he had wide experience, not just as a judge but in other aspects of the practice of law, would redound well for the Office of President. “In these times when things are more complex, you need that kind of exposure,” she said.