The President vs The Prime Minister: Testing the Limits of the Constitution

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Selwyn Ryan


Like most commentators about the constitutional impass that developed in Trinidad and Tobago following President Robinson's refusal to accept the Prime Minister Panday's advice to appoint seven United National Congress (UNC) candidates who were defeated in the December 11th elections to Senate and as junior ministers, the author is of the firm view that President Robinson did not have the constitutional authority to refuse Prime Minister Panday's advice. Unlike some who concentrate solely on what the Constitution prescribes, his concern was with the President's dilemma which he believed to be a genuine one. In The President's letter to Mr. Panday, he declared, that he found "it impossible to accept the principle, not expressed or denied in the Constitution, that persons who have been rejected by the electorate can constitute a substantial part of the Cabinet, even the majority, and consequently the effective Executive in our democratic state."

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