Christine’s Disappointing Not-So- Pristine Family Silk Appointments

She came on a wave of strong public acclaim which transcended her previous political connections with the People’s National Movement (PNM), but all of this good will was dashed out the window when newly elected President Christine Kangaloo used her high office to facilitate the dispensation of Silk to her husband and her brother.

‘What is this, a pappy show?’ Avory Sinanan asked Rickie Ramdass in a Trinidad Express interview while Political scientist Dr Indira Rampersad told the same newspaper that the award of  Silk for Kangaloo’s husband and brother  “reflects poorly on the President,h_446,al_c,lg_1,q_80,enc_auto/e7c795_127362e414af46abb2da23c91526b1b0.jpg

And as if oblivious to the fact that she had awarded Silk to herself while she was Prime Minster, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, used her party’s Monday Night Report in Fyzabad on May 8 to blast Kangaloo for committing the same transgression.

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Persad-Bissessar, who read a list of legal fees from a report in last Sunday’s Guardian, noted the report included that Kerwyn Garcia (the President’s husband) had collected $14 million and Fitzwilliam, Stone, Furness-Smith & Morgan (where the President’s brother Colin was a partner since 2000) had collected $23 million.

“… They’re just totally shameless! Will the President’s husband and brother continue getting millions in dollars in state briefs?” she asked.

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He said it was strange that all the lawyers in People’s National Movement’s 2015 election petition got ‘silk’ and that in former president Paula-Mae Weekes’ term, no one was awarded ‘Silk’.

He added, “But as soon as this new President entered – and we’d raised issues if she was fit for the job – among her first tasks, she give her husband and brother ‘silk’! I’m surprised she didn’t give her sister-in-law and the dog too.”

Meanwhile, Opposition member Dr Roodal Moonilal

Dr Moonilal apologizes to Hinds for 2018 Parliament incident - 103FM:  First, Finest, Forever

Warned that the issue raises “the perception of nepotism and favouritism” , asserting that in the People’s Partnership government, a spouse or their children couldn’t be appointed to a board. 

In a Trinidad Express article headlined Slippery Silk, Anna Ramdass reported:

It was a postcard moment for the Kangaloo-Garcia family yesterday as President Christine Kangaloo conferred the prestigious gift of “silk” on her husband Kerwyn Garcia and her brother Colin Kangaloo.

The milestone for the family comes less than two months after Kangaloo was sworn in as this country’s seventh President on March 20, 2023 at the Grandstand of the Queen’s Park Savannah.

There was a light chuckle from the audience when Garcia received the official envelope of senior counsel status from his wife, the President.”

A total of 18 attorneys were selected to receive senior counsel status but 17 were presented with their new status at a ceremony at the President’s House, St Ann’s. Incoming Law Association president Lynette Seebaran-Suite was not present due to the death of her mother.

IGDS Public Forum on Sexual Harassment — Lynette Seebaran-Suite - YouTube

In this context, Kangaloo’s statements on assuming office in March, or about two  months ago, differ in terms of what she promised then to what she is doing now. Kangaloo  said

The President said as the democracy and the society matured there was an increasing demand for the country’s leaders to become more and more accessible, with the Office of the President being no exception.

She gave the undertaking that her “relentless advocacy” in achieving the goals set for the Office of the President in advocating for “better conditions”, “better arrangements and better platforms and better opportunities for all” would not be “combative or belligerent. “Far from it. That is not my way. 

“My way is to be your Diplomat-in-Chief, making the case for a better Trinidad and Tobago firmly, but without acrimony or bitterness. My words do not need to be shouted in the public square. There is already too much shouting going on in our country today. I believe that we all need to be calmer and more reflective. And I propose to lead in that regard by example,” she 

As someone who had been tarred for the contribution she made in Parliament as a member of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s PNM government, coupled with her undertaking to be “your Diplomat-in-Chief, making the case for a better Trinidad and Tobago firmly, but without acrimony or bitterness”, the new President has certainly set up a storm of controversy by conferring Silk upon her husband and brother.

President bestowed with country's highest award | Loop Trinidad & Tobago

This development is expected to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the mass of people who had welcomed her with wide open arms as Pristine Christine : something which may haunt, if not impede, her career for a very long time.

President Christine Carla Kangaloo

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