MPs vs Manning

By Irene Medina
Tuesday, September 4 2007

Patrick ManningSenior MPs of the ruling People National Movement’s (PNM) have lashed out at their political leader and Prime Minister Patrick Manning for using a secretly conducted poll as a screening mechanism to weed them out of the General Elections line-up.

A top PNM insider says that Manning is using the poll, a creation of a committee led by PNM public relations officer, Jerry Narace “to create sycophants and a Cabinet of putty to do what he wants.”

According to the MPs, the poll which has already been used to eliminate, Arouca North MP Camille Robinson-Regis, and Toco-Manzanilla MP Roger Boynes and is hanging like an axe over the head of Diego Martin Central Ken Valley has effectively usurped the party’s Constitution, replaced the screening process and destroyed the entrenched system of nominating a candidate via the party groups.

He explained that before a candidate is chosen, the party groups must first nominate that person, then the executive meets and a decision taken, after which that person goes before the Screening Committee. “Now its all on the basis of a poll,” he said.

Sources within the party slammed last Saturday’s convention, saying that Manning used the highest forum of the party to solicit support for his decisions about “who should go and who should stay.”

Last Saturday at the Bon Air High School, Manning told supporters, “hard decisions are going to have to be taken my dear friends. Hard decisions! And this political leader, before he embarks on that, wants the assurance of this special convention that the party is behind him in the discharge of his responsibility to party and country.” The audience was on its feet. Insiders are questioning the value of the secret poll and are convinced it was not done to evaluate MPs performance since the results were not about showing them how to improve their weakness, but to axe them. One source explained that the real danger of the poll, is to “blackmail” MPs to stay in line or else.

He likened it to Dr. Eric Williams’ undated letter, which MPs were asked to sign so that they could be kicked out of office at any time Williams saw it fit to do so, but said it was “even worse because whereas MPs had to agree to sign the undated letter, in this instance, if the poll say they must go, then that’s it.”

Another source told Newsday now that Manning had fashioned the party to the way he wants it, he was moving to do the same with the Government. He said the new Constitution as drafted by Sir Ellis Clarke which sought to reorganise a number of institutions and proposed the Office of an Executive President, has been rigorously opposed by a handful of senior government officials.

“These are the people who are in trouble of being axed,” he said. The irony, according to one source, is that while MPs were kept in the dark about the poll, their political leader knew about it before, and “that is why today he has scored credibly.”

One source told Newsday yesterday that all the new candidates are being asked to pledge “loyalty” to Manning as a condition attached to their candidacy. Sources questioned the whole issue of performance in a constituency and pointed to several instances where the line ministers failed to see their constituencies’ needs as a priority.,63532.html

Valley fights back
Diego Martin Central MP Ken Valley who reportedly faces the axe due to an alleged poor score on a performance poll said yesterday that he had already told his constituents some time ago that he would serve one more term. “I only want one term more,” he told Newsday during an interview at his Diego Martin Central constituency office.

4 Responses to “MPs vs Manning”

  • Patrick Manning wants total control with absolutely no challenges. He wants control of all the major institutions in the country including the Chief Justice’s office. Manning may also feel it is a good time to settle old scores, so Valley’s and Rowley’s heads may be on the chopping block alongside anyone else who criticized him or challenged his leadership.

    Maybe it is a clique in the PNM hierarchy loyal to Manning that has been leaking information on PNM ministers with accusations of wrongdoing to the COP opposition party so that Manning can use those accusations as an excuse to force them out of office.

  • I agree with Heru. Ever notice how the most intelligent members of the PNM are passed over for top positions e.g. Fitzgerald Hinds – he could tie Manning in a crocus bag and throw him in the Gulf before Manning even realise what going on and yet Hinds is a junior minister while Mrs. Manning is the minister of education!

  • Diane Seukeran facing ‘poll’ axe

    By Ria Taitt Wednesday, September 5 2007

    As the confusion over the selection of candidates increases daily in the ruling PNM and the infighting in the party grows, sources said yesterday that MP of the marginal San Fernando West seat, Diane Seukeran may be joining the “hit” list of MPs who will not be facing the electorate in the upcoming general election because of their reported low scores in a controversial performance and profile poll.

    Others whose candidacy is reportedly in jeopardy because of the poll are Diego Martin Central MP Ken Valley and Laventille East/Morvant MP Fitzgerald Hinds, though Valley signed his nomination papers in private yesterday after cancelling his invitation to the media to witness the signing. But sources said yesterday that a question mark equally hangs over the candidacy of Seukeran who is also Minister in the Ministry of Trade. According to sources, Seukeran’s poll results were low. A former President of the South Chamber, Seukeran yesterday also told Newsday she had signed her nomination papers.

    According to sources, Seukeran was considered a firebrand before she came into politics. She won the seat from the UNC’s Sadiq Baksh in 2002, but has not really lived up to this image during her stint in the Parliament. She is the sister-in-law of PNM heavy weight, Energy Minister Dr Lenny Saith.

    If indeed all of these incumbents are likely to be rejected by the PNM Screening Committee, the PNM could be fielding an almost entirely new slate of candidates with only seven of the 20 elected MPs currently in the Parliament, remaining in active politics.

    They were at press time Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley; Diego Martin East MP Colm Imbert; St Ann’s East MP Anthony Roberts; Arima MP Pennelope Beckles; Tobago West MP Stanford Callendar and San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning.

    Laventille East/Morvant MP Fitzgerald Hinds who is also on the list of unlikely starters, is currently in Jamaica, where he is registering his son at medical school. Tunapuna MP Eddie Hart is another non-starter, but because of his age. He is 70.

    So far nine MPs have bowed out for various reasons. Roger Boynes and Camille Robinson-Regis have opted out due to ill-health; Jarrette Narine and Hedwidge Bereaux stood down because of age; Franklin Khan and Eric Williams were disqualified because of corruption charges and Larry Achong bowed out after it became clear that the Screening Committee was adamant about not accepting him as the candidate. And late yesterday in the latest twist Minister of Health and Port of Spain North/St Ann’s East MP John Rahael who reportedly scored high in the poll announced he was standing down.,63587.html

  • I disagree, I think it’s a good way (even if it is politically motivated) to clean house before an election. If nothing was being done, people would have complained that it is the same old lot. It’s hard to please 100% of the people but something needs to be done

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