...Carmona eyes appointments
President Anthony Carmona went to his office, which is located on the President's Grounds, for the first time yesterday since being sworn in on Monday evening.
Carmona had worked from home on Tuesday. It is not known what specific duties he engaged in, but one of the first things that would have to occupy his attention is the appointment of four Integrity commissioners.
The terms of office of Justice Gladys Gafoor, Neil Rolingson, Ann Marie Bissessar and Seunarine Jokhoo expired last Thursday. Chairman Ken Gordon, whose term of office expires on October 26, 2014, is currently the only sitting member of the commission.
The appointment is made by the President in his own discretion, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
The President would be familiar with the recent troubled history of the Integrity Commission and would no doubt be seeking to avoid any repeat of some of the headaches which that body has caused to both the previous Head of State and the country.
The Government would also be eager to suggest persons, while the Opposition Leader would be equally interested in the composition of the commission.
The nature of this appointment and the kinds of issues that are brought to bear on the Commission means that all sides would want to have a major input. But the final decision rests with the President.
The appointments made on the Integrity Commission therefore would determine whether Carmona's powerful inaugural address, in which he came out swinging, was just old talk and whether the high expectations that his speech has created would be satisfied.
Meanwhile, Independent Senators are hoping to meet with the President at the first available opportunity. The Express was told that the senators have no intention of resigning since they are there at the pleasure of the President, who appoints and has the power to revoke such appointments.
The nine Independent Senators were appointed by former president George Maxwell Richards. But there is no precedent in Trinidad and Tobago for any new President changing such appointments in the Senate in the middle of a term or of anybody, such as on the service commissions, for that matter, simply because they were made by his predecessor.
And the President issued a release on Tuesday in which he apologised for the omission of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and Mrs Rowley from his salutation listing at the delivery of his Inaugural address on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
"Inadvertently, the salutation listing from the 2008 inauguration was used at which the then Opposition Leader (Basdeo Panday) was not present. His Excellency regrets the error and wishes to state that it is by no means reflective of any intention to slight the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, which His Excellency recognises plays a key role in the Westminster system of governance," the release stated.
Ex-President Richards and his wife, Dr Jean Ramjohn Richards, have moved back into their Maracas-St Joseph home. —Ria Taitt