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Rowley: Carmona a candidate we can support

By Renuka Singh renuka.singh@trinidadexpress.com

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday endorsed the Government's nomination of Justice Anthony Carmona as the next President of Trinidad and Tobago.

Though Rowley did not hear the televised announcement yesterday evening, he said he had spoken with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar shortly before the decision was made public.

"We as the minority in Parliament requested the process of consultation. We are of the view that we needed to arrive at a candidate by a consensus," Rowley said in a telephone interview shortly after the announcement.

"That process was entered into and it threw up a candidate who we can support therefore you can look forward to us supporting Justice Carmona," he said.

Rowley said the PNM was working toward a process that ensured a consensus on issues of national importance.

Just hours before Persad-Bissessar publicised the Government's pick, she had met with Rowley to discuss the nomination, but even then did not reveal the choice.

The Opposition sent a letter to the Prime Minister last Friday calling for consensus on the issue of the President and according to Rowley, the Opposition only received a response after 11 p.m. on Friday.

By mid-morning yesterday, the two met for just over an hour, but still the Government kept its pick quiet.

Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj also endorsed the appointment. In a telephone interview, Ramsamooj said the People's Partnership made an "excellent" choice.

"Justice Carmona served the country with great distinction both nationally and internationally. The character, humility and humbleness of this gentleman can augur well in assisting the country in its nation building," he said.

Ramsamooj said based on what he knew of Carmona's background, he is a man "above and beyond" the political divide.

"The Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar should be commended on his decision," he said.

Political scientist Dr Selwyn Ryan yesterday also supported the nomination.

"It is a good nomination and one that would get cross party support," Ryan said.

Ryan said Carmona has been in the judiciary for some time and has maintained "muteness" with regards to political issues.

"Based on the little I know, it's a good appointment," he said.

Leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), David Abdulah, also added his support for the Government's choice. Abdulah, in a telephone interview, said Carmona seemed to be a "good and fair choice".

"Given Justice Carmona's appointment to the International Criminal Court, (it) reflects both his legal ability and his fairness of functioning," he said.

Abdulah said Carmona has not been involved directly in the "cut and thrust" of political life which would add to his fair functioning as the President.

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