//Indian-origin woman is Opposition leader in Trinidad

Indian-origin woman is Opposition leader in Trinidad

Port of Spain (Trinidad), April 26 (PTI): A woman of Indian origin has become the first woman Leader of Opposition in the Trinidad and Tobago parliament.

Kamla Persad Bissessar, a former Attorney General, was appointed Tuesday by the country’s President George Maxwell Richards following incumbent Basdeo Panday’s incarceration.

The President has also declared Panday’s Couva North constituency seat vacant. According to the country’s law, Panday automatically vacated his post after his conviction.

Meanwhile, his lawyers tried to get Panday released on bail, but the High Court has requested more documents and the hearing will now resume today.

Panday, a former Prime Minister and chairman of the Opposition United National Congress, was on Monday sentenced to six years in jail on three counts for failing to declare his assets in a London bank account.

He was ordered to serve two years in jail for each charge but the sentences will run concurrently, which means Panday will effectively serve two years in prison.

Panday will also be paying fines of USD 10,000 and has been asked to reimburse USD 250,000 to the state.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, said he was sorry to learn of the ruling against his predecessor, but asserted that it sent a clear warning to politicians that none of them were above the law.