So what’s the role of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago? Is it just to swear in the Prime Minister and Cabinet? Is it to sign bills into law? Or even to consult with the Prime Minister on a regular basis as to the state of the country? Whatever one settles upon, it is an institution that relies on, or ought to rely on (in our incarnation of the Westminster system), moral authority. President Carmona lost it after his quite widely publicized traveling expeditions (that allegedly cost tax payers quite some penny); and Maxwell-Richards’ Section 34 proclamation on the 50th anniversary of our independence cost him dearly - especially considering the otherwise stellar time he was having in office up to then(by the standards of the thus far presidency, stellar generally refers to uneventful).
As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, I believe I reserve the right to a citizen’s nomination for President, and my nominee is: Calypso Rose.
Born McArtha Linda Lewis, Calypso Rose knows what it is to survive in a male dominated misogynistic culture. She’s spent a lifetime in what most of us consider to be the art form of social commentary, and certainly understands the struggle of the common man; something I believe Dr. Rowley’s time on the golf course and Persad-Bissessar’s time in her ‘complex’ of a home may simply miss the mark on.
In all seriousness though, shouldn't the President be someone with the moral authority to contribute to the public discourse without fear of reproach? Ought not the President and his/her office be that which sets the moral compass of our nation?
There is one interpretation however, which is very much legitimate. It’s a school of thought that argues that a President of our Republic should be knowledgeable on the technicalities of government, the ins and outs of our national institutions. The argument goes, that ideally, a man or woman of ‘letters’ ought to hold the ceremonial reins of power; someone who has spent a great deal of time in public life, or even occupied the halls of power, someone who understands government. It is a fair argument. However, first and foremost, who is to say that Ms. McArthur Linda Lewis doesn't understand government? But let’s assume she doesn't; isn't it the reality that all Presidents are well furnished with a vast array of advisors? And quite frankly, if there is a need for further expertise, I’m sure it's available at a moments notice to any Head of State.
Now, all of this does depend on whether Ms. McArthur Linda Lewis believes that she’s up to the task - the task of leading her country and being the figure-head of our great nation-, in what many of us would admit are some morally bankrupt times. Let’s hope she does.
For some, there may be the concern of Calypso Rose’s advanced age. Well, the last time I checked, the Office of the Presidency doesn't include brick lifting.
I’m willing to advance the notion that what’s most important in a President today in Trinidad and Tobago, is someone who has his or her hands on the pulse of the nation. Someone who understands the psychology of our people, and who is able to unify a nation so prone to racial divisiveness; one who calls a spade a spade and would easily say it as it is. If you've ever listened to Calypso Rose, you know that she can do this well. Try saying it out loud, I guarantee it gives you a comforting feeling: President McArtha Linda Lewis; or even sweeter, President Calypso Rose.
Mikhail E.D. Byng was born in Trinidad. He is the author of Off the Island and a graduate student at the University of Belgrade. He speaks Serbian and English.
Trinbagonian. Traveler. Believer in God. Believer in Creation. Life long Student. Sports enthusiast.