The Trinidad and Tobago Republican Constitution provides for a President who is the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces. He is also the repository of all Executive Authority. His powers are exercisable within certain constitutional limits and most of his constitutional acts must be performed in accordance with the advice of or after consultation with another authority, usually the Cabinet, the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition. Although the President does not sit in Parliament, he is responsible for the summoning, prorogation and dissolution of Parliament and also gives his assent to Bills.
A person is qualified to be nominated for election as President if he is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago of age thirty five years or upwards who, at the date of his nomination as President has been ordinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago for ten years immediately preceding his nomination.
The Constitution provides for an Electoral College consisting of all the Members of the Senate and all the Members of the House of Representatives assembled together and convened and presided over by the Speaker of the House. The President is elected by the Electoral College voting by secret ballot. Ten Senators, the Speaker and twelve other Members of the House of Representatives constitute a quorum of the Electoral College. The President so elected shall normally hold office for a term of five years.
All Bills passed in both Houses of Parliament must be assented to by the President before they become law. The President also appoints Members of Commissions and other senior officials. He is also responsible for appointing Senators – sixteen on the advice of the Prime Minister, six on the advice of the Opposition Leader and nine on his own discretion.
- Office of the President Website – External Link
Her Excellency Christine Carla Kangaloo
On January 20, 2023, the Electoral College of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago elected Ms. Christine Kangaloo as the Seventh President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Ms. Kangaloo is this country’s second female President.
When her name was submitted as a nominee, Ms. Kangaloo held the position of Attorney-at-Law and President of the Senate, a position she was elected to on September 23, 2015, at the start of the 11th Republican Parliament and again, on August 28, 2020 following the 2020 General Election.
Ms. Kangaloo is an alumna of the University of the West Indies and the Hugh Wooding Law School. She is an Attorney-at-law by profession, having been admitted into practice in the year 1985, and was attached to the southern legal team of Hobsons.
Ms. Kangaloo was appointed an Opposition Senator in 2001 (6th Parliament) and Vice-President of the Senate in 2002 (7th Parliament). In the 8th Parliament, she was appointed Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Social Delivery in October 2002 and from May 2005 to November 2007, held the portfolio of Minister of Legal Affairs. In November 2007, following the General Election in which she was elected to the House of Representatives, Ms. Kangaloo was appointed Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education.
Under her stewardship in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Ministry’s free birth certificate programme captured the Prime Minister’s Award for Innovation 2005. She has overseen the subsequent Mail In Mail Out service, the Legal Aid and Advisory’s “Here to Help” campaign, which saw legal officers going out to remote areas to offer their services, the launch of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago Online, the uploading of the Companies Registry Online and the revamping of the Land Registry’s payment system, which won the Prime Minister’s Award for Service Excellence 2006. In 2007, the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago in both hard copy and soft copy were finally published after more than twenty-years. It was the very first time that the Laws have ever been published on CD ROM.