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March 13, 2024
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President Christine Kangaloo: Led by faith

By Rosemarie Sant

“Challenging and rewarding” – these were the two words that Her Excellency Christine Carla Kangaloo, ORTT, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, used to describe her first year in office.

As she approaches the anniversary of her inauguration on March 20, President Kangaloo reflects on the past year with a sense of gratitude and humility, acknowledging the privilege it is to serve her nation at its highest level.

In an intimate interview with Altos presenter Neil Parsanlal at President’s House Monday 11, President Kangaloo opened up about the source of her strength in facing both the triumphs and trials of her presidency.

“My husband, he is my support. I have the strength of my family, my friends, and needless to say I have my faith.” All of these she said provide her with the resilience needed to navigate the complexities of her role.

Throughout her life, President Kangaloo has confronted numerous challenges, from her battle with breast cancer to the painful losses of her sister and her brother, Justice Wendell Kangaloo. Yet, she attests that it is her unwavering faith in God that has been the cornerstone of her endurance during the darkest moments.

For President Kangaloo, faith is not merely a belief system; it is the very essence of who she is. “So, my faith is a part of me. It doesn’t just help me with being President, it’s me, it’s who I am. It’s to get like an IT application, it’s like an operating system in my life.”

It is for this reason she says she tries to live the values of her faith, “to be honest, to be kind, to be forgiving. So that’s what I do and that’s how I am able to work through all that faces me on a daily basis.”

While President Kangaloo identifies as a Roman Catholic, her faith extends beyond the confines of religious affiliation. In her inaugural address, she expressed profound gratitude to the community at the St Ann’s RC Church, for their unwavering support.

Though her attendance at Mass may be less frequent now, she said she and her husband First Gentleman Kerwin Garcia SC, remain deeply connected to their faith community, finding solace and strength in its embrace, especially during the past year of her presidency.

Of the challenges she faced on assuming office, one she said was the change in her life, where she can no longer do spontaneous things: “We can’t just decide we want to go to the mall or visit friends. Those things have to be planned, so that’s one of the adjustments we had to make.”

The other big challenge has been getting people to serve on boards and commissions, “they are quite afraid of what that entails.”

But the rewards she said have been far greater than the challenges, she has been interacting with numerous young people as she seeks to demystify the role of the President.

“My interaction with young people has been tremendously exciting and encouraging, and that aspect has really lifted both my husband and me as we go through this stage of our lives.”

You can view the full interview with Her Excellency on Altos, this Friday (March 15) on Trinity TV at 8 p.m. and on TTT Sunday, March 17.