Dumas on Kangaloo nomination: ‘I would have prefered a Hindu President’

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Retired head of the public service Reginald Dumas.

RETIRED head of the public service Reginald Dumas says while has no qualms about Christine Kangaloo being nominated for the presidency, he would have preferred the Government’s choice to be a Hindu.

Dumas also said he hopes Kangaloo – the Senate President – has “no serious political affiliation.”

The Prime Minister announced Kangaloo as his choice on Friday during a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. She is expected to be formally nominated next week.

The announcement came after a meeting between Government and members of the Opposition. The Opposition has requested more time to nominate a suitable candidate.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has expressed concerns about Kangaloo’s longstanding ties to the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).

Kangaloo contested and won the Pointe-a-Pierre seat on a PNM ticket in the 2007 general election. She later served as Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education in the then Manning administration.

She was elected Senate President in September 2015.

Dumas, a columnist with Newsday, admitted on Friday he has not followed Kangaloo’s contribution as Senate President, “so I can’t tell you if she has done a good job or not.” He said he feels a person of the Hindu faith should be the next President.

“My position is that I would like to see a person of the Hindu faith as President because we have never had one and this would be keeping, if we did so, with the words of our anthem: here every creed and race find an equal place,” he told Newsday.

“We have had a number of presidents, all but one of whom have been Christians. The one who was not was a Muslim (Noor Hassanali). Hindu’s represent about one-quarter of our population, and I just find it a little strange that up to now no suitable Hindu can be found to be president.”

He added, “As far as Ms Kangaloo is concerned, her first name suggests she is a Christian. I have nothing against the lady. I know nothing about her. I know she is the President of the Senate. But I have not been following her actions. If Ms Kangaloo is a Hindu with a Christian first name, well fine.”

Dumas said Kangaloo should not be a member of any political party.

“I would prefer someone who is not a member of any political party because when you have a political party person, they can be manipulated. That is what I admired about Noor Hassanali, you could not manipulate him.

“If she is a member of a political party, PNM or otherwise, then I would have a problem because it would mean she would not be able to display the kind of balance needed, especially these days in our society.”

He added, “So while I have nothing in principle against Ms Kangaloo, I must voice those sentiments that I would still like to see a Hindu, who is well-respected, well-known. But above all, the person must be a healer in the society, not a divider.”

Progressive Democratic Patriots political leader Watson Duke regarded Kangaloo as “a poor choice.”“The PNM is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a non-political, non-elitist, no-nonsense approach to governance,” he said via WhatsApp.

“There are currently a limited amount of good citizens who repose any confidence in PNM much less to be identified publicly with them. Therefore, given the unpleasant circumstances, I understand why the poor choice of Christine Kangaloo was made.”