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Manning Officializes in Princely Style

Swearing-In of Prime Minister Patrick Manning
Swearing-In of Prime Minister Patrick Manning in pictures Reporters
November 8, 2007

Patrick Manning received a majestic welcome from thousands of PNM supporters who ventured to Woodford Square to witness the first ever public swearing-in of a Prime Minister. This occasion took place on Wednesday 7th November, 2007, and was not without controversy as members of the Opposition party, the United National Congress, summed up this event as another dictatorial scheme on the part of the People's National Movement. Nevertheless, many people disagreed, regarding the moment as sacred and monumental where the people were able, firsthand, to witness the ceremonial coming into office of their elected leader.

Trinidad and Tobago citizens, many of them decked in the traditional red of the PNM, gathered to greet, for the first time after the November 5th, 2007, elections, their Prime Minister. All throughout the brief programme which officially began at 3p.m. one could hear the election rally chant, "Patrick, we stepping out with you!" along with other words of support and encouragement to Prime Minister Manning.

Members of the audience at the Prime Minister's swearing-in
Members of the audience at the Prime Minister's swearing-in

The atmosphere, one could argue, was synonymous to that of a church assembly with people dancing and shouting praises to their victorious leader. During the prayer segment by Hindu and Christian religious leaders, one could clearly hear the 'Hallelujah's', the 'Amen's' the 'Praise God's' and the 'Thank you Jesus' which continued long after the official prayers were over. In fact, the crowd became a chorus singing several hymns on whim.

The Lydian Singers were on hand to entertain the crowd before and after the official swearing-in, selecting several gospel pieces, much to the delight of the audience who sang along enthusiastically. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Band also entertained before the official start of the ceremony.

Patrick Manning taking the oath
Patrick Manning taking the oath

Soon afterwards, Patrick Manning was officially sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago by President George Maxwell Richards. This moment had aroused cheers from the large audience who had anticipated the event which was announced, according to the Prime Minister, on short notice.

During the Prime Minister's address, which was an unprecedented action with regards to a PM's swearing-in, the Prime Minister gave several assurances to the Trinidad and Tobago citizenry promising that, after all that was said and done, the Trinidad and Tobago family would once again unite without hate or indignity. This occasion was witnessed by several dignitaries, public officials and supporters of the PNM and according to Patrick Manning, "...signals a continuation of our intention to bring Government closer to the people."

Prime Minister Patrick Manning lays hand on child
Prime Minister Patrick Manning lays hand on child

Manning confidently expressed that, " Trinidad and Tobago, tensions have already evaporated and the family of Trinidad and Tobago remains united ... As a people we ought to be proud of the way we conducted ourselves in this most important exercise in democracy," speaking in relation to the conduct of the people after the intense election period.

Manning also touched on issues such as rising inflation and food prices. He promised that his government would try to lower the unemployment rate by about five to six per cent over the next five years; to control the inflation situation: "I'm confident that we will obtain our targeted seven per cent by the end of the year and move to five per cent thereafter"; to provide more housing; to ensure that the problem of water shortages and inaccessibility is decreased; and to effectively deal with crime in the country.

Prime Minister greets supposters through the fence
Prime Minister greets supposters through the fence

The Prime Minister also praised to the number of young people who have participated in the politics during the past election season: "When our young people participate with such enthusiasm in the nation's democracy, then the country's political progress is assured." He also expressed confidence that Trinidad and Tobago had evolved beyond racialized politics: "It is clear that we are even further and further behind the old paradigm of political support based on racial considerations."

After the formal "coronation" as some may deem it, Prime Minister Manning made his way through the thick crowd of media personnel, bodyguards and PNM supporters to greet some of his admirers. Some rushed to at least get a touch of their beloved leader while others coaxed their children to maneuver the crowd (with their guidance) to get a kiss from the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister and other specially invited guests
Prime Minister and other specially invited guests

For the Prime Minister and other specially invited guest, the evening ended with a private get-together at the neighboring City Hall.

"As Prime Minister, I give the solemn assurance that in word and deed, mine will continue to be an administration for all of Trinidad and Tobago." Time will tell if he would give credence to his promise.

Swearing-In of Prime Minister Patrick Manning in pictures:

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