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Rowley denies Speaker offered President post

Published: 
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday shot down reports that Speaker of the House Brigid Annisette-George had been offered a post as this country’s sixth president.

Government sources, however, insisted Annisette-George had been offered the post. She left yesterday to attend a Commonwealth meeting in Mauritius, which begins today.

Annisette-George had presented then President-elect Paula-Mae Weekes with her instrument of appointment in January at a short ceremony at the Parliament building.

So was the speaker of the house ever offered the post of president?

Speaking to reporters at a reception hosted by outgoing president Anthony Carmona at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, in Port-of-Spain, Rowley responded: “I am not aware of that…and even if she was it would have been a private conversation.”

Asked why the House Speaker was absent from yesterday’s historic event, Rowley said, “I was not even aware she was absent.”

But Deputy House Speaker Esmond Forde said Annisette-George had to attend the global event as it was important for this county.

Anisette-George, who holds the fourth highest office in the country, was a notable absentee at yesterday’s function and subsequent reception at NAPA.

Rowley also took the opportunity to clarify a comment he made last week when he responded to a reporter’s question about Carmona’s tenure.

The PM said his comment that “we survived” was not meant to be disparaging as some people had interpreted it. He said Carmona remained a valued citizen and he wished the former president and his family well.

Asked about his strained relations with Carmona and how he intended to build his relationship with the new president, Rowley said Weekes represented the best of this country and it was an occasion of optimism and celebration.

On matters he would like the new President to address immediately, Rowley said everything that involves the governance of the country was priority. However, he said he was not going to be the President’s advisor.

DARREN BAHAW and
AKASH SAMAROO

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