Black Immigrant Daily News
Political scientist Dr Bishnu Ragoonath.
POLITICAL scientist Dr Bishnu Ragoonath says the Prime Minister should not have nominated Senate President Christine Kangaloo as his choice for the presidency.
Rather, he suggested Dr Rowley should have nominated an individual of good standing with no longstanding affiliation to the ruling People’s National Movement.
“I am looking at it and I am saying whether or not the Prime Minister could not have looked outside his membership and at the wider community,” he told Newsday.
“In fact, he did promise to get someone who could be independent in thought. I thought the Prime Minister would have come forward with somebody from outside of Parliament with a high public rating from within the national community. In my opinion, that is where he should have gone.”
Rowley announced Kangaloo as his choice on Friday during a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. She is expected to be formally nominated this week.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has objected to Kangaloo’s nomination, noting she has been closely tied to the PNM for decades, having once served as a Cabinet minister during the Manning administration.
PNM FOR YEARS: This 2007 file photo shows former prime minister Patrick Manning, left, and former minister in the office of the PM, Dr Lenny Saith – both deceased – with then PNM MP Christine Kangaloo, on the political hustiings. Kangaloo, now Senate President, is poised to become the country’s next President. File photo
Speaking onthe weekend, Ragoonath said there was some merit in the Opposition’s argument and others sharing similar concerns.
“The thing about it is that she (Kangaloo) is tied to the PNM. She is in the bosom of the PNM and her entire family comes from the PNM and held high positions within the PNM. So that is a serious concern.”
In fact, Ragoonath said on Friday someone alluded to a video clip of a political meeting years ago in which Kangaloo said that the PNM is the only party.
“So there is a concern as to whether or not she will act impartially when the need arises. And remember in many instances, the President is required to consult with the Leader of the Opposition as well as the Prime Minister.
“Whether or not the consultations will be meaningful with the Leader of the Opposition, bearing in mind her (Kangaloo) position in the PNM, she might only want to listen to what the Prime Minister has to say and that presents us with a challenge of whether or not she can act as fairly as possible.”
However, he said Kangaloo should be given the benefit of the doubt.
“Over the past few years, she may have changed her position and her views about the party and the Opposition. So we have to give her the benefit of the doubt if that is the case. But the point about it is that she has comes in with heavy PNM baggage.”