Chief Sec, Minority welcome Kangaloo as President

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

President Christine Kangaloo takes her oath of office on Monday flanked by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, and Chief Justice Ivor Archie, at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has wished the country’s seventh President, Christine Kangaloo, a successful tenure.

Responding to questions from Newsday, Augustine said his presence at the inauguration ceremony on Monday at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain was to bring the goodwill of Tobago to the new president.

Other members of the THA Executive Council who attended included Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett, Food Security Secretary Nathisha Charles-Pantin and Assistant Secretary of Education Orlando Kerr.

Augustine said, “I wish that she has the most successful tenure as president.

“I was encouraged by her desire to transform the presidency and to make the post more meaningful. It will be difficult, as what TT really needs is constitutional change.

“But while we wait, or, rather, agitate for that, Tobago stands with the nation in congratulating the new president. I wish her and her family the very best.”

He described her speech as refreshing, making note of her focus on youth development as one of her main goals will be reaching out to youth.

Kangaloo said she would like to see President’s House and its grounds serve the public by becoming a cradle for intellectual, cultural and artistic exploration among our youth, and, in so doing, helping to improve observation, perception and communication skills among young people.

She also hoped to see the bandstand put to regular use as a platform for new and emerging young artistes; the main ballroom and the house used to host displays, such as art exhibitions by primary and secondary school students; and the public areas opened up to facilitate endeavours such as book club meetings, and programmes to introduce young people to music.

“She made pledges to the nation’s schoolchildren and to the wider population – that was delightful. We will also hold her to her pledge to bridge the gap​​ and reach out to work with those who at one time stood on the opposite political side to her. “

Kangaloo has had a long history with the PNM going back decades. She even served as a Cabinet minister under former prime minister Patrick Manning.

Her nomination by the PNM had raised eyebrows among political analysts and caused an uproar by the UNC. However, Kangaloo has vowed to carry out her duties with impartiality.

Augustine said TT has become a place where the rabble-rousers rise into ascendancy – “where comess replaces sensible political discourse.

“I try to ignore the rabble-rousing. but sometimes it is difficult to ignore. No president can succeed by being a rabble-rouser. And to be fair, we have never had a president that was a rabble-rouser.”

Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, who was at the ceremony alongside Councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit, said the inauguration gives life to the words of the anthem: here ever​​y creed and race find an equal place.

He said in TT, every young girl and boy can look to this moment and know that “with boundless faith in our destiny,” there are endless windows of opportunity without borders, and the highest office in the land is a realistic possibility for citizens of all races, creeds and genders.

“As I listened the inauguration speech, I could not help but appreciate her fervent candour, yet sober humility. Listening to the President, you got the feeling that this is a woman that truly understands the challenges of the society at all levels, as well the public scepticism of the office.”

He said it was “refreshing” to hear her outline “clear and innovative plans of action to modernise and refocus the Office of the President (making that office more accessible to the public by demystifying and modernising it and the role it plays) in a manner that will strengthen the connection between the President and the citizens, making the office increasingly relevant and impactful to the lives of the citizens of TT.”