More than 10,000 chairs have been laid out for the inauguration ceremony of the country’s first female President Paula-Mae Weekes on Monday at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
These seats will be for members of the public, politicians, members of the Judiciary, Cabinet ministers, Opposition members, diplomats, officials from various Government ministries and Weekes’ family and friends.
Confirmation came from the ceremony’s events manager Brinsley McKay who up to yesterday was busy putting measures in place for the 90-minute ceremony at the Savannah yesterday.
At least 90 per cent of work has already been completed with the remaining ten per cent to be completed by Sunday night for the historic swearing-in ceremony.
Four large screens, two each on the North and Grand Stands, were installed for viewing by attendees, while the front of the North Stand was draped with the national colours of red, white and black.
Work crews from the National Carnival Commission were seen mopping, sweeping, dusting and placing chairs on the stands.
The Grand and North Stands, McKay said, can each accommodate 5,000 guests, but will be “catering for over 10,0000 people for this historic event.”
At the start of the ceremony, McKay said the Defence Force will welcome the arrival of Chief Justice Ivor Archie, (by then) outgoing President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who will be seated on a small metal stage which has already been erected in front of the Grand Stand.
A salute will be taken for “His Excellency Anthony Carmona” which will be followed by the National Anthem, invocation and the Bishop Anstey High School and the All SAaints Anglican Church choirs will deliver a medley of songs. The President-elect is a former student of Bishop’s and she was a former Chancellor of the Anglican Church.
McKay said Weekes will be seated by 10 am among special guests in the executive area of the North Stand which has already been lined with gold and red fabric upholstered chairs.
Weekes will join the PM, CJ and Carmona on stage to be sworn in as the country’s sixth President, following which there would be a parade and a guard of honour by the Defence Force with the national flag flying in the background.
Thereafter, McKay said, Weekes will deliver her maiden speech, which is expected to be the longest part of the programme.
For the past three weeks, McKay has been working around the clock with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament, Defence Force and President’s Office for a smooth flow of the ceremony.
McKay and Office of the President communications adviser Theron Boodan were unable to say how many people received invitations for the historic event.
“All invitations have gone out at NAPA, SAPA, the Port-of Spain City Corporation and MPs in their respective constituencies. I can’t say how many invitations were sent out,” McKay said.
McKay said preparations for the event have been going according to plans “so we expect everything to be in place for Monday’s swearing-in ceremony.”