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Author Topic: Address by His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards TC, CMTT, Ph. D,  (Read 1593 times)

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truetrini

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OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT TRINIDAD REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
 
Address by His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards TC, CMTT, Ph. D, at the Ceremonial Opening of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Parliament Chamber, Tower D, The Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre, on Wednesday 11th July, 2012 at 1.30 p.m.
 
President of the Senate Speaker of the House of Representatives Other Members of Parliament Specially Invited Guests Representatives of the Media Other Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
I have the privilege of addressing Members of Parliament, once again, at a Ceremonial Opening, today marking the beginning of the Third Session of the Tenth Parliament of our Republic.

Let me give you the assurance that there is no need to brace yourselves, on the assumption that I will be tempted to be long-winded , this being, according to plan, the last time that such a privilege will be afforded me. I am told that in a multitude of words, there is sin and I would not wish to be found guilty of desecrating this House, particularly in view of my role, as established in the Constitution, as Head of the Parliament, a fact that many citizens of our country do not know.

The relevant information stated in Chapter 4, which deals with the Parliament, Part 1, Section 39, is as follows: “There shall be a Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago which shall consist of the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

 As is perhaps well known, I came from a background of academia, not the ivory tower that some people carelessly assume it to be, to serve as President of Trinidad and Tobago, “elected in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter (that is to say Chapter 4 of the Constitution) who shall be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.” From March 17th 2003, when I first took the oath of office, I have come to understand, somewhat better, what that means, certain interpretations being subjected to some legitimate adjustment.

On occasion, during my still active sojourn in the Presidency, I have observed, with deep interest and have come to recognize, other persons’ understanding of what it means to be President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

My conclusion is that there remains a large space for education on this matter, at all levels of our own society, in the outside world and on the part of visitors as well.

 Some may say that I have the right to orate as I please, given the context, but I have come to realize that we have become very conscious of our rights, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

While not making light of entitlement and inalienable rights, particularly human rights and equal rights, we may want to consider them in the context of the collective, so that we may accelerate our advancement, as a nation. And as I mention equal rights, I muse about equal opportunity and ask myself whether we, every single one of us, should not be more concerned than some of us seem to be, about equal opportunity.

If that is achieved, in respect of all of us, then, what we do with our opportunity will be up to us and no one else can take responsibility for our success or failure. Moreover, we need to remind ourselves that equal opportunity is not the domain of any individual or group in our diverse population.

Decisions taken in this Parliament must be such as to ensure even-handedness and transparency in policies that affect the welfare of all our citizens. There must be equality of opportunity and merit must count above every other consideration.

With this in mind, perhaps we need to be more conscious of the provisions of our Constitution.

We should take the trouble to inform ourselves of what is in fact a contract between the people of this nation and our leaders. It is a contract that goes beyond the temporary highpoints of election drama that takes place, from time to time. It is a contract that positions our people to require of our parliamentary and local government representatives, elected as well as appointed, that the decisions taken in our Parliament, our local government bodies, the Tobago House of Assembly and, the execution of those decisions by state entities reflect the fulfilment of the promises that they make, when they choose to offer themselves for public service.

The preamble of our Constitution remains valid and relevant to the aspirations of a country such as ours, whose people are known to have made outstanding contributions to the development of other countries. Some of them have much longer recorded histories than ours and are described as developed, a status that we are striving to achieve. Waves of brain drain to these countries, which persist today, tell a story of many facets, which we ought not to ignore. We must guard against being parochial, but we must ask ourselves why our nationals would find fulfilment elsewhere. Is it by choice or because they have no other choice?

All must be included in the process of nation-building and we must recognize that expertise resides in Trinidad and Tobago which can be given preference over foreign input. In the context of a less than healthy treasury, this must be a consideration.

Every paragraph of the preamble contributes to expectations which, if assiduously pursued, can create the conditions necessary for the commonwealth, enabling the people of this country, at whatever level, to experience a sense of ownership of this space and of belonging. It is normal to preserve what you own.

What decisions are being taken, in the Parliament, the highest law- making body in our land, to make Trinidad and Tobago more wholesome and attractive to its people?

What systems are in place to develop a people more educated concerning the functioning of this country and ways and means to make it better?

This is not a flash in the pan exercise, but one that calls for measured decision-making, with an eye on the future. But in looking ahead, we must be careful, in our quest for new things, not to discard the past and behave as if it did not exist. We will find that some decisions of the past were taken on solid foundations.

In this regard, I think of education. Some may say that there was a time when we were better educated, even though there was a certain measure of exclusivity.

It may be well to examine this area and adjust appropriately, by the policy decisions that we take, so that we may not become altogether a more certified, rather than an educated people. Be that as it may, recognition must be given to what successive administrations have done, over several years, to make education more accessible and we can congratulate ourselves that we are one of the very few countries in the world where education is free, from nursery to tertiary levels.

Many things have to be done to make our systems more efficient and workable, at all levels and the education budget must reflect an understanding of this.

If we get the education right, a number of positives will follow, in other aspects of national development. But in our fixing of systems, we need to pay serious and honest attention to the quality of university education that we offer.

Recently, the discovery of a new particle with properties consistent with the Higgs boson and which has been described as the god particle, has been reported and I am quite certain that this presents another opportunity for scientific innovation which we should seize. Except for the steel pan, we have been consumers rather than innovators and we must be careful not to miss out on getting in at the ground level of this new scientific exposure and here, university education matters.

We need to become more conscious of the fact that very serious work has been done and continues to be done at our regional institution, The University of the West Indies, including its St Augustine Campus. To its credit, links have been forged, over the years, with some of the highest ranking institutions of higher learning, internationally.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there was a certain vision birthed when the University of Trinidad and Tobago was established, particularly in respect of science and technology, which is critical and UTT must do no less than the University of the West Indies. None of us, I am sure, would like to see our national university lose its relevance to the communities that it is intended to serve, as there is a preeminent place for universities in the scheme of national development.

But this can only be preserved if we are ever mindful of the purpose of university education. Our universities must also ensure that not every social value is measured in terms of technological achievement and, as I have said before, the traditional role of universities in examining philosophical and ethical questions, in critical analysis of the social order and in fostering artistic expression, must be re-endorsed, as they take on enhanced roles in orienting and training students for knowledge-based development. Critical analyses to which I have referred, must be strengthened, especially in an atmosphere in which these achievements could easily be devalued.

To achieve success, the independence of the university must be untrammelled and independent thinking be allowed to flourish.

In no way should the treasury influence the directions of the university in a young nation such as ours.

The intellectual and creative energy that the university must provide, in order to enhance the country’s economic performance, cannot be compromised. The university is not a place that can accommodate anything but the best professional behaviour, in all its practices. Academic excellence can only be achieved in a climate of understanding clearly what the university is for and the seminal role that it must play in the sustainable development of any nation.

There is, consequently, no room for partisan behaviour and personal preference in appointments at the highest levels of leadership at our university or at the level of academic staff. Ability is what matters and governments and others concerned must ensure that academic autonomy is preserved.

In the matter of compromise, I cast my mind to law and order which, over the past several years, has come under siege, in this country, to an unprecedented level. In addressing this, the highest law-making body in the land, I feel compelled to join with those who rue the obvious lawlessness that confronts us.

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue, but, in working towards solutions, we must, on all sides, be reminded that zeal must not inform our behaviour, lest mixed signals be conveyed, if in any way, due process appears to be eschewed.

Reproach must not be allowed to impede good intention. There is no question but that joint police/army patrols have been playing a critical role in the fight against crime and in the maintenance of law and order in our country.

However, in their modus operandi, there must be a clear demonstration of understanding of the chain of command, within both entities, with wisdom dictating the levels of involvement. In this context, the philosophy of speaking truth to power must apply.

On another matter, reproach must not find a place in the working of Parliament and in this context, I am all for the independence of Parliament. I think that the time has come for such independence to be established, in every aspect, so that the work of Parliament may be enhanced and be seen to be free of bias. And there is another area within our systems where independence must be preserved. I refer to the independent Commissions established under the Constitution. I believe that everything possible should be done to ensure better working conditions for these Commissions, which were established for good reasons, reasons which have not lost their validity.

As I have mentioned before, in this honourable House, consigning them to history is not a good option. They are guardians of our democracy.

Before closing, may I say that we should be deeply appreciative of those who serve in the Parliament of our nation. You do not have an easy task and I believe that this fact could not have been fully understood, until you began to function as a parliamentarian. Your profession requires solid preparation. And I dare say that, contrary to Plato’s bitter conclusion, I believe that there is a place in politics for men of conscience.

Mercy is not easily dispensed here and perhaps it should not be sought, in this arena, which is more conducive to the stance of gladiators. But in all that you do, please be reminded that, at the centre of your consciousness should be the reality that people are the reason why you are here, not opportunity.

I am thinking of the entire constituency of Trinidad and Tobago, of whatever creed, race or social condition – the retiree of whatever rank, including the judiciary, who is no longer visible and perhaps living in penury or not far from it, having given outstanding service; the working poor who does not stand out as the indigent does; those relatively small organizations that may not have the clout of established Non Governmental Organizations but which need your help, in order to help others.

And let us not forget those who create and provide jobs - companies, cooperatives and individuals – who must make their contributions to the treasury, but must be recognized for what they do. As I have made reference to the work being done in the Parliament of which, constitutionally, I am a part, I think of the process of election of a president of Trinidad and Tobago which is clearly set out in the Constitution.

We have heard it said, repeatedly, that the President is above politics and quite separate in his sphere of operation from the Government and the Judiciary. No one can be sure how a President votes in national elections if he/she chooses to exercise this right. Yet, there are those who conveniently aver that the President is a creature of the Government in power. At this stage of our development, there can be no good excuse for continuing in this vein and, at age fifty, I am sure that we can do much better than that.

I therefore take this opportunity to thank the various administrations that have served during my tenure, for the ways in which we were able to work together in the interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I am sure that we were all afforded several opportunities for growth. I thank also the Officers and staff of the Parliament, at all levels, for their dedication to duty and their cooperation with the Office of the President. I wish you all very well.

And finally, how do we rate ourselves, in this golden anniversary? We have done some things right, as evidenced by the fact, inter alia, that we remain, politically, a sovereign state.

We have far to go and we cannot say that the road ahead signposts any guarantees. Indeed, if the truth be told, there are many questions, which some may choose to circumvent, but there is no wisdom in that. We have preserved our democracy but, I cite a response reportedly given by a United States President to a citizen who asked what he was giving to the people, state benevolence being at the heart of the question. He said: “A Republic, if you will preserve it”. I believe that we, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, should ponder this, as we move on from this significant landmark of fifty years. Will we preserve our Republic?


 In seeking to answer that question, we may wish to consider, deeply and honestly the first base of our Republican Constitution which recalls inter alia that
 ...”the People of Trinidad and Tobago-

 (a) Have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;”

 In the decisions that are taken in this Parliament, have we been ever mindful to uphold these principles and the others that are stated in the Preamble?

Are we as conscious of the dignity of the human person as we might be? Is there any room for the perception that modern day slavery can flourish here and on the other hand, are we insisting on productivity as a necessary element in the preservation of human dignity?

Are we mindful of the need to turn around our lack of competitiveness in the global environment and conscious as to where that work must begin? We must take the hard look, if we are to equip ourselves, properly, to manage the next half century of independent status.

I look forward to accelerated social revolution in our country and the eradication of social insecurity, as a direct result of the collaboration, in this Parliament, of all who serve. I wish you all a most productive Session and thank you for your service to our Republic. At a personal level, I convey to you, your families and your loved ones best wishes for good success in your positive endeavours.
 
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the courtesy of your kind attention and may God bless our nation!

truetrini

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Re: Response by Prime Minister Kamla
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2012, 12:51:58 AM »
Kamla: No decision on last term for Richards

 By by Ria Taitt Political Editor



Story Created: Jul 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM ECT
(
Story Updated: Jul 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM ECT )


Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday "respectfully" disagreed with President George Maxwell Richards.
 
Richards, addressing both Houses of Parliament, stated that "except for the steelpan, we have been consumers rather than innovators, and we must be careful not to miss out on getting in at the ground level of the new scientific exposure, and here, university education matters".
 
However, making a statement on behalf of the Government, Persad-Bissessar said this country had earned for itself a perception of progressive dynamism, and around the world, the majestic red, white and black, had grown to become a symbol of innovativeness, creativity and an indomitable spirit of unity.
 
"Mr Speaker, if I may respectfully agree to disagree with his Excellency the President when he said that apart from the steelpan, there has been no innovativeness in Trinidad and Tobago, I respectfully disagree. Yes, the steelpan is one symbol of innovativeness, the only musical, acoustical instrument invented in the last century, but Trinidad and Tobago is known throughout the world for innovativeness, creativity, the diversity of our people, the harmony, the unity in diversity which represents Trinidad and Tobago."
 
This elicited applause from the Government benches. She said everywhere she had travelled and all the people of other countries she had spoken with expressed in clear, unmistakable terms that this country could feel a sense of pride over the distance it had come and the manner in which it continued to march forward.
 
Persad-Bissessar said she wanted to thank the President for his usual "forthrightness" in giving an overview of the coming year in the life of the Parliament.
 
However, the Prime Minister, in pointing out that the President and others have been referring to this address as his last, stressed there was nothing to prevent him from being re-elected as President.
 
"There is no constitutional bar...to a third term. The Government has taken no decision on this matter and, therefore, whilst his Excellency may have appeared to be saying that this is his last address, I would say that since no decision has been taken on the matter, this is indeed only the last official statement in his second term of office."
 
Richards's first term ran from 2003-2008, and his second term spans from 2008 to 2013.
 
She said she was sure the President's deep concern in education and his dedication and service to citizens would ensure he would be involved in the country's progress and development.
 
"We offer his Excellency our sincere gratitude for his decade of service," the Prime Minister said.
 
The Prime Minister also thanked those who departed from Parliament and whose contribution had helped to put the Government in a better position than it was two years ago.
 
She cited former senators retired Brig John Sandy, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, Verna St Rose-Greaves and Danny Maharaj. She welcomed their replacements, Larry Howai, Marlene Coudray, Jamal Mohammed and Ganga Singh.
 
The Prime Minister also said she wanted to recognise the father of the nation, Eric Williams, a statement which brought applause from the Opposition.
 
Persad-Bissessar said her Government had set new standards of parliamentary democracy in answering questions on time, in seeing debates through the end and in upholding the values which underline nationhood.
 
"As we begin this session of Parliament, I ask that all members hold rigidly to their oaths while, at the same time, remain conscious of our responsibility to lead by example and conduct ourselves in a manner that will continue to earn the approval of our citizens," she said.
 
"Indeed, even as we hold rigidly to opposite sides of the political divide, we must summon the maturity and the courage to act in a manner that serves the national interest over partisan interests," she said.
 
The Prime Minister said over the new session, Government would push forward with its commitment to reform the criminal justice system and introduce further measures that will enhance the capacity of the protective services to detect, solve and prevent crimes.
 
She promised that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan would bring details of the legislative agenda and shed light on the multipronged attack on crime.
 
"Our focus remains on ensuring that the victims of crime are afforded swift justice, the perpetrators of crime are made to feel the full weight of the law and protective services are afforded the institutional and physical resources to carry out their duties," the Prime Minister stressed.
 
She said the next budget would present a clear view of the economic reform agenda.
 
"Now, the time has come to restore the full strength and capacity of the economy, ensuring that each and every citizen stands to contribute and benefit, not just a privileged few," the Prime Minister said.
 
Also at yesterday's sitting, Nela Khan, MP for Princes Town, was elected Deputy Speaker.

Offline FF

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Kamla ent have no shame
THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES

Offline lefty

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Kamla ent have no shame

boy.....dis from a gov't even "borrow" people tag lines and been busy dustin out other people policy to call dey own......even d dotish ones........but we innovative and dynamic ...so muddacuunt innovative and dynamic dat dey couldn't figure how not to kill endangered turtles and make ah complete ass outa deyself.........steups Kamla SC indeed....in jus have ah different take on what S.C. mean in she instance and dat opinion gets stronger wit ever passin day............
I pity the fool....

Offline MEP

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Sat Maharaj for President

Offline Jah Gol

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Rowley: Heed Max's caution

Originally printed at http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Rowley__Heed_Max_s_caution-162158015.html
By Ria Taitt Political Editor 
July 11, 2012

IT was "unfortunate and unnecessary for the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to take "public issue with President George Maxwell Richards and try to correct him" for making a statement that the steel pan was the only innovation from this country, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.

He was speaking to reporters following yesterday's opening ceremony of Parliament.

Rowley said the President was quite correct in saying that the steelpan was the only innovation in our life as a nation.

"The Prime Minister corrects him and says 'No, we have cultural diversity and harmony'."

"We didn't invent harmony. We didn't invent cultural diversity. We invented the steel pan. So I don't know what the Prime Minister was thinking," Rowley said.

"And I thought her statements were quite unnecessary and uncalled for," he added.

On the President's statements that Parliament was not a place for opportunity, but for serving the people, Rowley said it was a nice presidential way of saying that corruption ought to have no place in the conduct of public business.

He said it was generally felt that many of the persons who have come into office particularly in the government and their friends, see office as opportunity to enrich themselves.

On the President's statements on the use of the armed forces, Rowley said: "That was the presidential way of responding to the recent developments as Commander-in-Chief, seeing the army mobilised by a politician in the way it was".

Rowley said right-thinking persons saw it as wrong and "today we have been cautioned by the Commander-in-Chief. That was a presidential caution".

On the President's statements about the need for the preservation of the independence of the Service Commissions, Rowley said the Executive had been usurping the rights of the independent Commissions and the President simply referred to it as a constitutional safeguard that should be recognised and preserved.

He cited the appointment of a head of the Financial Intelligence Services, and alleged use of the veto by the Executive to override the independence of the Public Service Commission.

"Any President would have noticed these things...and the Office of the President is required to caution and can act. When moral and spiritual values were in short supply, a President did act," Rowley stated.

He said the President cautions all Parliamentarians, except the Government, to not play fast and loose with the institutions and the issues of morality in public issues and with the country's money in particular.

On the issue of the crushing of turtle eggs, Rowley said the Prime Minister stated that the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources had landed on its feet.

"It landed on its feet in Grand Riviere and killed thousands of turtles. It is a good thing it didn't land on its back or on its head".

Rowley also stated that he had a problem with the posture of the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) which is supposed to be the agency to protect any endangered species and the environment.

"The EMA has turned out to be the biggest apologist for a botched job," he said.

"Now we are being told that the turtles would not have survived anyway and therefore the tractors did not kill them. Come on! I don't know how an environmental agency charged with the protection of the environment would give itself a role as excuse-maker when something goes wrong. Something went wrong and we must acknowledge that," Rowley declared.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 09:48:05 AM by Jah Gol »

Offline lefty

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in other words...more idiotic rhetoric and bullshit .........from these clumsy and amateurish bullshitter
I pity the fool....

Offline Jah Gol

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Quote
Recently, the discovery of a new particle with properties consistent with the Higgs boson and which has been described as the god particle, has been reported and I am quite certain that this presents another opportunity for scientific innovation which we should seize. Except for the steel pan, we have been consumers rather than innovators and we must be careful not to miss out on getting in at the ground level of this new scientific exposure and here, university education matters.
-His Excellency Professor George Maxwell Richards


Quote
"Mr Speaker, if I may respectfully agree to disagree with his Excellency the President when he said that apart from the steelpan, there has been no innovativeness in Trinidad and Tobago, I respectfully disagree. Yes, the steelpan is one symbol of innovativeness, the only musical, acoustical instrument invented in the last century, but Trinidad and Tobago is known throughout the world for innovativeness, creativity, the diversity of our people, the harmony, the unity in diversity which represents Trinidad and Tobago."
-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

What would trigger the Prime Minister to make this response at all ? The President is obviously talking about innovation and research and development yet the Prime Minister blurts out this platitude about diversity and harmony. This exemplifies the cultural re-engineering this government is attempting to achieve. They deem the steelpan to be an African thing rather than a Trini thing so any acknowledgement of the instrument as being the only true product of our innovation has to be diluted by false and misguided political correctness. Sometimes when something is so ingrained in a person it becomes exposed unnecessarily.

Offline Jumbie

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Why Max eh cool he free-loading self?

Offline weary1969

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Kams evrybody know Dooks is d nxt Prez u sent him Foreign Affairs 2 learn a lil protocol.
Today you're the dog, tomorrow you're the hydrant - so be good to others - it comes back!"

Offline Deeks

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Why Max eh cool he free-loading self?

why is Max a free-loader? So the previous ones were free loaders. Is the queen a free-loader.

Offline Jumbie

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Why Max eh cool he free-loading self?

why is Max a free-loader? So the previous ones were free loaders. Is the queen a free-loader.

You asking answers!

truetrini

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Why Max eh cool he free-loading self?

why is Max a free-loader? So the previous ones were free loaders. Is the queen a free-loader.

You asking answers!

lol like Ellis before him is a nice non wuk with plenty perks

Offline Bakes

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Please... Ellis do plenty to deserve the position he had, including drafting the same Constitution we using today.  Max does interrupt he feteing long enough to act "Presidential" about once a year.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 10:15:41 PM by Bakes »

truetrini

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Elis was supposed to be Chief Justice of T&T but never assumed that role as he was instead lead advisor to the Draft Constitution in 1961.

As President he had a nice ride hosting f=dignitaries and relaxing, he did take time out to be embroiled in a financial scandal though.

Oh yeah as Governor General he did help draft the Republican Constitution also.

Offline Deeks

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Elis was supposed to be Chief Justice of T&T but never assumed that role as he was instead lead advisor to the Draft Constitution in 1961.

As President he had a nice ride hosting f=dignitaries and relaxing, he did take time out to be embroiled in a financial scandal though.

Oh yeah as Governor General he did help draft the Republican Constitution also.

you sure was he or Eric? Only kidding. But seriously speaking I think our socalled republican constitution was flawed. I was to young or did not care about that at the time. The Abu Baka coup woke me up, when I heard he appealled to the Privy Council. I said noway. Now the man free like ah cobo. We might as well stay independent.

Offline Deeks

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Oh shims I take alll ah that back. republic Day is ah holiday!!!! Hooray to Ellis and Eric!!!!!!

truetrini

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what you drinking Deeks????

Offline Brownsugar

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Max does interrupt he feteing long enough to act "Presidential" about once a year.

 :applause: :applause:

"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...