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Opposition waiting on AG's legal opinions

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

The Opposition has requested that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan provide copies of the legal opinions from the three senior counsel who unanimously indicated that Justice Anthony Carmona meets the constitutional requirement to be elected president.

Opposition Chief Whip Marlene McDonald on Tuesday sent a letter to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Leader of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal, raising concern as to whether Carmona was eligible to be elected president.

McDonald pointed specifically to Section 23 (1) of the Constitution, which states a person is qualified to be nominated for the election of President if he has been odinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago for ten years immediately preceding the date of his nomination.

From 2001 to 2004, Carmona served as an Appeals Counsel at the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

He returned to this country in 2004 and was appointed a High Court judge.

Ramlogan, in a release on Tuesday evening, indicated the opinion of three senior counsel—Lord David Pannick, QC, Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, SC, and Michael Beloff, QC—was sought on the matter, and they all unanimously stated that Carmona satisfied the constitutional criterion in Section 23 (1).

McDonald told the Express yesterday that Ramlogan has sent a response to the Opposition's query which was the same information contained in the press release.

She said she has since asked the AG for copies of the legal opinions.

Contacted by phone yesterday, Carmona, who sounded very hoarse, said he was unable to speak because he was suffering from laryngitis.

Efforts to contact the AG yesterday proved futile.

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