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TRINIDAD | Retired Appeal Court judge Paula Mae Weekes nominated for President

Featured Presidential nominee Paula Mae Weekes Presidential nominee Paula Mae Weekes
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, January 6, 2018 - If the Keith Rowley administration has its way, retired Court of Appeal judge Paula Mae Weekes will make history as the first woman to be elected President of Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday announced Weekes as the Government’s nominee for President, at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, following a  meeting  between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Paula and Keith
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley speaks with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and members Wade Mark and Surujrattan Rambachan at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s where talks were held on a nominee to be TT’s next President. | OPM PHOTO

Young said the meeting as very productive and co-operative, and Persad-Bissessar’s reaction to Weekes as the presidential nominee was “a very positive one, a very buoyant one.”

He said Persad-Bissessar indicated the Opposition had no nominees to propose at this stage, but she indicated she needed to caucus with Opposition members and would contact the Government on Monday morning.

Young pointed out that for someone to be considered as a presidential nominee, Section 30 of the Constitution stipulates that 12 or more elected MPs must sign the nomination form which must be delivered to the chairman of the Electoral College, Speaker of the House of Representatives Bridgid Annisette-George no less than a week before the Electoral College convenes.

The college is set to meet on January 19 and vote on which of the nominees should be elected.

Rowley told Persad-Bissessar that Government will leave some spaces on the nomination form for Opposition MPs to sign “in a co-operative manner” with Government MPs. The Opposition Leader will sign the form after the Prime Minister does so. It is  hoped  that the form would be signed by noon on Monday and subsequently transmitted to Annisette-George. Young said it would be a good signal to the country if Government and the Opposition agree on a single presidential nominee.

Young said Government agrees with Persad-Bissessar that the President should not be a puppet of the government of the day and Weekes had a stellar career as a jurist in TT, serving as a Justice of Appeal for 11 years and retiring in 2016, and Government was thankful and grateful she had agreed to make herself available as a presidential nominee.

JUSTICE Paula Mae-Weekes sworn in as a judge of the Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal, in February 2017, for a term of three years.

She was a former Justice of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago where she served for eleven years until her retirement in 2016.

She was appointed judge in 1996 where she presided for nine years before being elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Before that, she served with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for eleven years and in private practice from 1993.

A former pupil of the Bishop Anstey High School, Justice Mae-Weekes is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the Hugh Wooding Law School.

Young said before Rowley advanced Weekes as Government’s nominee, he asked Persad-Bissessar about incumbent President Anthony Carmona continuing in office for another five-year term.

Government thanked Carmona who will complete his term in office on March 18, for his service over the last five years,Young said, and the public must congratulate anyone who decides “to give public service at any level to TT.”

How is the President elected?

The President is elected by the Electoral College voting by secret ballot.

The Constitution provides for an Electoral College, which consists of members of the Senate, and members of the House of Representatives to assemble and is presided over by the Speaker of the House.

Ten senators, the House Speaker and 12 other members of the House of Representatives make the quorum of the Electoral College.

To qualify for the position as President, the person must be nominated for the election. The person must be a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, over the age of 35 and upon the date of his/her nomination as President be an ordinarily resident in the country for 10 years immediately preceding his/her nomination.

The President would normally hold office for a term of five years.

Former Presidents:

Ellis Emmanuel Innocent Clarke (September 24, 1976 – March 19, 1987)

Noor Mohamed Hassanali (March 20, 1987 – March 17, 1997)

Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson (March 18, 1997 – March 16, 2003)

George Maxwell Richards (March 17, 2003 – March 18, 2013)

Last modified onSaturday, 06 January 2018 08:28
  • Countries: Trinidad_Tobago

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