UNC to Kangaloo: Save independent bodies from political interference

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

THE Opposition is calling on new President Christine Kangaloo to ensure independent bodies are protected from political interference.

Kangaloo was sworn in as the country’s seventh President on Monday morning.

Kangaloo previously served as an assistant registrar of the Supreme Court, PNM MP for Pointe-a-Pierre, PNM senator, Minister of Legal Affairs, Minister of Science Technology and Tertiary Education and immediate past president of the Senate.

The Opposition stayed away from the inauguration ceremony.

Speaking at the UNC’s Monday Night Report, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had no interest in celebrating a “puppet president.” She said, “Rowley has sworn in his puppet president. So every institution he wants to take control of. That is their playroom.”

St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen said during Kangaloo’s term, the UNC will do all in its power to ensure integrity and fairness are maintained.

“The President has, as part of their duty, to appoint independent bodies including the EBC (Elections and Boundaries Commission).

“I call on President Kangaloo to ensure the EBC and other independent bodies do not become puppets of the PNM and government. It is not far-fetched to ask for that, because we are seeing what is happening with the DPP.”

Within the past month, DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, has become the centre of controversy after he spoke of an acute staff shortage while being interviewed on a radio station.

This triggered a response from the Prime Minister who claimed offices made available to the DPP and his staff to the tune of millions of dollars, have been and remain unoccupied.

For his part, the Attorney General has accused State prosecutors of under performance while Chief Justice Ivor Archie in a ten-page letter on the matter, questioned the DPP’s approach to dealing with the staff shortage problem.

“We are seeing what has been happening with the police this government has been abusing their power…”She has a duty to ensure the PNM doesn’t interfere with these, and the UNC will remain vigilant on behalf of the people of this country to ensure that does not happen. In a message to Kangaloo, Ameen said: “We will not let you get a free pass Madam President.”