Carmona did not say whether he was referring to Independent senators, Government or Opposition senators, but in a brief address on San Fernando Hill where he received the Order, His Excellency said the recommendation would require an amendment to the Constitution.
In an immediate response to Carmona’s suggestion, Persad-Bissessar who attended the ceremony, said “It is a very important point he (His Excellency) made, and is worthy of consideration.”
Carmona received the Order of the Republic as Chancellor of the Order of the Republic, and by virtue as well, of being the country’s Fifth President of the Republic. Carmona will present persons who will be honoured in this year’s Independence Day awards function, with their respective medals.
His Excellency broke away from tradition and held the ceremony on the San Fernando Hill yesterday, attended by his wife Reema, and children, Christian and Anura, His Excellency’s parents, Dennis and Barbara Carmona.
Traditionally, such events are held at President’s House, but yesterday Carmona lauded the ceremony being staged in San Fernando, saying, “is time we come down south, tell all and sundry that we do exist.”
Speaking with the media after the function, Persad-Bissessar said that this year’s Independence Day awards function will be held next month, in South Trinidad.
Carmona was presented with the Order by secretary to His Excellency, Esther Daniel Liverpool.
The ceremony was also attended by Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Chief of Defence Staff, Kenrick Maharaj. The function saw Carmona being dressed with the gold medal by Daniel Liverpool, after Aide-de-Camp Don Polo, read a biography of His Excellency. Carmona became this country’s fifth President on March 18, having been a former judge of the Supreme Court. He was sworn in as a Judge of the International Criminal Court, a position he was due to take up before he was made president.
Addressing guests, Carmona praised the community of Palo Seco where he grew up, for instilling in him the qualities to struggle to make his mark as a “Fyzabad boy”, in the international arena. He singled out Hasely Crawford as one such persons who inspired him to struggle against all odds, to attain his goal in life.
Carmona then offered hope for young citizens to aspire to the highest office in the land — Parliament. He said, “Presently as it is, no one under the age of 25 can become a senator. I intend, in my weekly meetings with the Honourable Prime Minister, to raise it, whereby persons under 25, could be appointed as senators. There is no provision for exception.” The president of the Republic appoints nine Independent senators who presides in the senate. There is a total of 21 senators in the Senate who are appointed by the Government and Opposition.
Commenting on his weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, Carmona had some constitutional advice for his audience, saying that such meetings were not in accordance with any constitutional provision. “They are by conventions, well established conventions. So you have gotten a lesson today in constitutional law,” Carmona, evoking laughter, told his audience.
Persad-Bissessar, in a media statement after the function, said, “It was a very important point. There are several persons already, in my Government, who are not so young, but are of young age. It’s a good point.”