Trinidad to elect new president

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar smiles and shakes hands with Trinidadian President Prof. George Maxwell Richards.
AP Photo/Shirley Bahadur
AP Photo/Shirley Bahadur

A new president for Trinidad and Tobago will be elected next month. The Electoral College will meet to elect the new president.

The Electoral College comprises members of the House of Representatives and the Senate-which means that that a nominee is elected based on a simple government majority.

Minister for Communications Jamal Mohammed made the announcement during the first post-Cabinet news conference for the year at the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Clair, Port of Spain.

President George Maxwell Richards is expected to complete his second five-year term on March 17 and under the Constitution a president has to be elected at least 30 days before the term expires.

Mohammed said the election was being held in accordance with Section 26 (4) of the Constitution, which provides that an election “shall be held not more than 60 days or less than 30 days before the expiration of the term of that office.”

He said the election must be held no sooner than Jan. 17 and no later than Feb. 18.

Mohammed said Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade Mark will inform members by letter of the meeting of the Electoral College.

“The speaker has recommended to the prime minister and Cabinet has duly noted that Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, is the date selected by the Speaker of the House for the convening of a meeting of the Electoral College for the election of a president of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Richards was first elected on March 17, 2003, replacing President ANR Robinson. He was re-elected on March 2009, for a second term.

Richards previously served as principal of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and was awarded the country’s highest award – The Trinity Cross, as it was called in 2003.

T&T’s first president under the Republican constitution was Sir Ellis Clarke, who served from Sept. 24, 1976 to March 19, l987.

He was followed by President Noor Hassanali, who served from March 20, 1987 to March 17, 1997.

He was followed by Arthur NR Robinson, a former prime minister of T&T.

There is widespread speculation as to who will be elected as the names of several prominent citizens have surfaced.

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