Keui Tung to Blame for PNM’s Loss in ’95?

Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Brian Kuei Tung
PM Patrick Manning and Brian Kuei Tung
Keui Tung sold out PNM

By Yvonne Webb
Published: 5 May 2010

Prime Minister Patrick Manning last night fingered former UNC minister Brian Keui Tung as the person who sold out the date of the 1995 election to former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday.

Speaking on a political platform on Harris Promenade, San Fernando, last night, Manning said he would reveal the PNM person who sold out in due course. Manning described as a bad mistake when he and six PNM members met in San Fernando and decided to call an election and set a date. He said they decided to use the element of surprise and keep it a secret from the Opposition.

“Unknown to us, and I would say it tonight, one of those six persons who was present, within days, went to a gentleman called Brian Keui Tung and told him the plan. “By that time he was with Mr Panday and we did not know,” Manning said, pointing out that the rest is history as PNM lost the election.
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Manning living in the past
FORMER Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Brian Kuei Tung yesterday expressed surprise that his name had been called by Prime Minister Patrick Manning at a PNM rally in San Fernando on Tuesday night, as the person who leaked to the opposition UNC, that Manning was planning to call a snap general election in 1995. “It seems he is living in the past and I don’t know what excuse he is going to issue when he loses this general election…which he is going to lose big time. If he said he was sold out in that snap election (of 1995) it was his arrogance that sold him out,” Kuei Tung said.

Kuei Tung denies knowing election date

5 thoughts on “Keui Tung to Blame for PNM’s Loss in ’95?”

  1. Oh Mr. Manning, the infallible…never accepts blame for any wrongs or loss of fortune of his government, but takes all the credit for all the perceived good. It is never about his conduct (which comes over as arrogance to many people), wastage, corruption and inability to deal with crime – the reasons for his possible downfall.

    Mr. Manning is obfuscating the real reasons for the collapse of his government in 1995:

    “The PNM was returned to power in the 1991 elections after the NAR self-destructed. In the 1991 election it won 21 of 36 seats with 45% of the vote. However in the later half of that term the party became unstable. It lost one seat in a bye election and another when Ralph Maraj defected to the United National Congress. The issue that led Maraj to defect was the declaration of a limited State of Emergency which sole purpose was to remove Occah Seepaul (Maraj’s sister) as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The party also suffered a loss of support with the death [of the] Minister of Public Utilities, Morris Marshall, a favourite of the party grassroots. Attempting to halt the decline in party support Manning called an early ‘snap election’ in 1995.”

    Back then, people were not only disenchanted with Manning’s style of leadership but also with his bungling of the Occah Seepaul issue. The limited state of emergency was viewed as an abuse of state power. As a result, many sought a new style of politics.

    In Mr. Manning’s mind, all the complaints against his government and him personally are never legitimate. He always deflects and blames the media and opposition forces which he feels automatically make the concerns baseless.

    I can clearly remember when the PNM government and its supporters joined others in condemning the wild spending and corruption under the Panday-led UNC government. We were not willing to accept the bogus excuses that the fortune invested in the Miss Universe competition would bring investments to the country. We saw how certain people went about getting the bulk of large contracts and delivered shoddy work. I mean, I could go on and on about this.

    Today, when the shoe is on the other foot, this PNM administration uses some of the same illegitimate excuses like the Panday-led UNC government in an attempt to justify similar showy and non-essential spending that many of us assumed to be riddled with corruption. Based on the Uff Report, many of us were right again.

    But we are expected to put aside all of this and simply blame everything on everyone else. Almighty Patrick Manning can do no wrong. And most of all, it appears that he cannot appreciate how silly it is to be making the argument that winning elections comes down to trying to catch the Opposition off guard. Bassed on Manning’s illogic, it is not about performance and gaining the respect of the public. It is simply down to doing whatever you want during your term in government and then outsmarting the Opposition and the public around election time to stay in power.

  2. In essence ,taking the people’s vote for granted.However,if the Opposition did not get their acts together and get rid of an equally clueless,out of touch,nypotistic,political dinasour in Basdeo Panday,then tried to build a broad based united front,that appears to have an alternative road map policy,which might take the people forward,then Manning’s plan would have succedded once more.
    It is one of the prime reason why I’ve repeatedly told UNC die hard fans, that their party and it’s leadership is to partly blame for the state of our country,as they through ineptitude,and 14th century feudal politics were unable to keep the PNM accountable,and on the ball,then present themselves as a viable alternative ,and government in waiting.The Unc party should be therefore commended for their actions on January 24th,hopefully it might be to a good end.
    If only they have learned the historical lessons as to why 86,95,and 2001 occured,and the reasons for the post victory fallouts,or country can be fine.
    Winning elections by beating PNM was always easy, but running a country that is divided ,and the general population have been so used,abused and misused,can be a greater challenge,even for’new aged change agents,’ that participated in the social beatdown of such people nationally as close servants of the power elites.However,I believe if anyone can do it ,Kamla can,unless Rowley,or Pennelope too rise to the occasion ,at the opportune time.
    We’ll get to the promise land one day I think.
    “I have a Dream,”that the children of slaves,and poor indentured laborers will rise……

  3. It is a waste of time speculating about what could have happened in 95. While the UNC appears to have a b etter chance this time around with Kamla, the ‘togetherness’ appears tentative and n ot at all respectful. If per chancethey were to pull it off, the bigger challenge would be in governing. There are several red flags in such a scenario. Would Jack be allowed to operate in government the way he is doing in the campaign? Would those who feel that they have arrived find it time to throw Jack under the bus? Would the Devant Maharaj’s, Suruj Rambachans, Sat Maharajs, Tim Gopeesinghs and others of that ilk rush to change the ‘culture’ before the dust is settled? Who would be the ones most interested in watching the Treasury? Can unity prevail in the lust for power sharing? I’m yet to be convinced that there is maturity in the coalition. So if it happens we must watch nervously to see what happens in the first six months. There is all evidence that the media (radio, newspapers and commentaries) are giving Kamla all the help that she needs by painting Manning into a corner (wrongly or rightly). I see little or no objectivity in the reportage. It it totally geared towards painting a favourable view of Kamla. Manning does speak sensible things at times but the media will have none of it. Does the media really care what it’s image is going to look like after the election? My feeling is that if Manning does not fall with the bath of ill will against him there will be a serious challenge tothis democracy.

  4. Kian,
    You raise important points. But I think you doth protest a bit too much! Unfortunately, the weakness you observe in the opposition reflects the general condition of politics in the twin island republic, nay, in our entire region. Part of the problem is the tendency for the citizenry (encouraged by the political parties no doubt) to leave politics to the politicians. Yet, an honest appraisal suggests that the political culture of the land has actually improved.

    The way I see it, this election, and the impending defeat of the PNM, will be a watershed event – the defeat of Manning will signal the death of ‘maximum leadership’ in the country’s most durable political institution. I predict that the PNM’s defeat will not only make the PNM a more democratic party but also make it a stronger party and that should redound to the benefit of the country as a whole. The PNM will be a formidable opposition force, keeping the UNC/COP on its toes. The citizenry will need them to help keep an eye on the treasury. That’s part of the job description of an opposition.

    There are a few bright spots in the coalition-alliance among the charlatans and smartmen. Dookeran, Cadiz, McLeod, these are all sober and mature men, whether you like their politics or not. Indeed, they offer different (and even opposing) perspectives on what ails TnT. But that is what you want in the Cabinet. You don’t want “yes men” gathered around the great maximum leader. You want a government of all the talents. You have the consensual model of politics and you have the adversarial model.

    There is a feeling abroad in the land that the old adversarial approach isn’t really working and it’s high time to try something different and Mrs. Persad-Bissessar somehow, in people’s minds, has captured that feeling. And it’s not because the media somehow invented her persona (although they like her). She’s been on the political stage for a long time now and she has had many years to interact with and to build relationships with people in the media, who have observed her from up close and have had enough time to form judgments about her.

    The people gathered around Mrs Bissessar are showing to me at least that they did learn some of the lessons from their past mistakes. Mr. Manning on the other hand…I don’t know.

  5. Herbsman,
    You have a good a good argument theoretically on how a UNC/COP government may function but our history and experience tells us otherwise. As you noted, our reality suggests that there is a preference for adverserial politics rather then compromising. In our way of doing things it is always ‘you are wrong and I’m right’, never a god word comes from ‘the other side’. So, with that attitude should we expect to see UTT merged with UWI? Or worse, do we expect to see UTT merge with COSTATT? Do we expect to see our educational system (to which most of our intelligensia credit with their new found truth) changed because a new order is in power? There are a few things the Manning is right about. (1) In order to go forward wer need very strong leadership (2) yOU CANNOT have dismantling of foundations only because the ‘previous’ government has built it. We must have policies that lifts ALL not just some. NO one can honestly say that an education was not theirs for the asking in T&T now. We must extend that privi8lege to other areas of endeavour such as banking, finance entrepreneurship, training and culture. Bassed on the people whom I have seen paraded on on our newspapers It is not re-assuring that we are headed in that direction with a UNC/COP coalition. I have serious reservations and I’m afraid that we do not and will NOT have the stomach to deal the ‘change’. I hear Kamla’s platitudes about change, I hear the voices of Labour especially on the matter of minimum wage, I hear voices on the Judiciary but that is an area that would get even worse, medical worse too because the heavily political officers will now be emboldened to behave how they reall feel as opposed to how they should feel.

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