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Former diplomat rules himself out of being next head of state


Former diplomat rules himself out of being next head of state

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PORT OF SPAIN − Reginald Dumas, the former special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on Haiti, has ruled himself out of contention to succeed Anthony Carmona as the next President of Trinidad and Tobago.

“There has, however, been a misunderstanding. I want to make it clear that I am not, repeat not, a candidate for the presidency, and have no intention whatsoever of being, or even seeking to be a candidate,” Dumas said in a letter to the media.

The 82-year-old former head of the public service here had been regarded as one of two candidates being pursued by the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) when the Electoral College meets on January 19 to elect a successor to Carmona, whose five-year term ends in March.

Media reports indicate that apart from Dumas, the UNC is also considering retired High Court Judge Gladys Gafoor, while the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) is said to be considering retired judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Rolston Nelson.

In his letter, Dumas, said he was grateful to persons who had sent congratulatory messages and had commented through the media on his possible candidature but insisted that he was not interested in the largely ceremonial post.

He noted that Trinidad and Tobago was increasingly driven by divisions of all kinds, racial, political and personal, adding “finger-pointing, snide and condescending remarks, and the public expression of unfortunate sentiments have become the norm.

“Our non-executive president, whoever he or she may be, is our citizen number one, whose election should not, in my view, be the subject of party political machinations and, consequently, of the very fissures that more and more afflict us,” said dumas, who is also a newspaper columnist .

“Would it therefore be feasible, instead of yet another adversarial scenario to have the three components of the Electoral College − Government, Opposition and Independent − consult as many members of the public as possible in the short time remaining, then sit together in advance of the election and agree on a single person?,” he asked. (CMC)