By Kevan Gibbs
November 28, 2010 – guardian.co.tt
In the past six months, many political know-it-alls claimed former prime minister, Patrick Manning’s silence was part of a master plan. After all, what was becoming an uncomfortable silence from the San Fernando East MP must have been because he fancied himself a comeback kid that would reclaim the leadership of Patrick’s National Movement.
A plan which would prove that the current Opposition leader was actually all bark and no bite, deserving of the treatment dished out to him during the last administration.Reality check! All the speculation, however, came to a crashing end when his silence was finally broken.It was amazing to see the one-time rebel of the Parliament, who now sits as the Speaker, having to request time after time, that Manning retract his statements and apologise for his outlandish claims.
He sounded more like a fading star, willing to say anything to get attention, rather than trying to reclaim his former standing in the Parliament. Starting well, both PNM and Partnership supporters alike were all looking forward to what the longest standing member had to say. However, his unfounded claims geared towards the Prime Minister building a $150 million home and talk about the now abandoned church in the Heights of Guanapo, took away from the credibility in his contribution.
Full Article : guardian.co.tt
Give us a break
By Suzanne Mills
Sunday, November 28 2010
I prefer to leave undemocratic contemplations to after the sun goes down, but these days I find my early mornings given to unkind thoughts for the voters of San Fernando East.
Not fair, but I am quite desperate. Just yesterday morning my despair and I went online for a copy of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister’s Pension Act to check whether it contained a clause on forced retirement, specifically mandatory pensioning. Lamentably it does not – in hindsight, poor legislative foresight. Can we slip in a retroactive amendment? Carole King said it, “Too late baby now.”
It was never easy living with Patrick Manning but I didn’t think six months after TT divorced him, co-habitation would still be forced on us. He will not leave: he’s TT’s political stalker, the jilted spouse who cannot accept rejection. Someone needs to counsel him, “Man, forget power trips, take your alimony and go.”
Having never held real political office, I know little or nothing of the pull of power. The closest I came to clout was when I was the head of Party Hearty and that does not count because PH had a very loose leadership policy. What’s more, in PH, the scope of my influence was limited to who got what size T-shirt and where we sourced the pholourie for our PH supporters and I think control of both domains went eventually to other members.
I was little aware of, nor did I mourn the loss of command. However, there’s obviously something so addictive about actual power that a graceful stepping out of it is beyond the realm of human possibility. Basdeo Panday did not know when to call it quits either. He had to be pried off the UNC.
Readers might say that Mr Panday and Mr Manning are perfect examples of why Trinidad and Tobago should reconsider the first past the post system. I say, perhaps, but TT needs to introduce a 12 step programme for its out-of-office politicians. They require weaning off public life or they go cold turkey on finding themselves out in the cold. Mr Panday was no more adept than Mr Manning at handing the political baton to Kamla Persad-Bissessar. His primal instinct was to clobber her with it.
Mr Manning is demonstrating classic withdrawal symptoms. He is yet to accept that Mrs Persad-Bissessar is Prime Minister, that the people of TT roundly rejected him, and that a big comeback is not written in the stars or in the hands of a prophetess. He is convinced that the electorate, one day soon, will wake up and realise their “error” of May. What is making Mr Manning deafer than before to the voice of the people if not power’s chemicals still coursing his blood stream? Is there another reasonable explanation for his mind-twisting outbursts?
And that is why lately, when the sun comes up, I am less than happy with the people of San Fernando East. Six months after the general poll, I don’t wish or deserve my brain bent. As every citizen, I should enjoy the right to contemplate the fresh political scene – on both the Government and Opposition sides – and evaluate this landscape without senseless distraction and interruption.
Mr Manning is denying me that privilege when he seeks the limelight, when he brings non issues to the fore, when he attacks the PM for no sound reason, when he attempts to derail the legislature’s business, when he overtakes the Opposition Leader in press briefings, when he issues libelous email, when he keeps the media on his heels.
He is cheating us all.
What’s his end game? His objectives are not opaque. Short term: keep Patrick Manning in the spotlight. Long term: shatter the current political configuration. By any means necessary including the most inane and scandalous.
Mr Manning began the congressional session by not shaking the Prime Minister’s hand. That gesture of ill will has cost him because Mrs Persad-Bissessar used that very hand last Wednesday to deal him her second knockout blow in six months. Missing only from the pile the PM took to Parliament in rebuttal of Mr Manning’s cockeyed observations about her home was the actual house under construction.
We should not be so naïve to believe that after Wednesday’s humiliation, Mr Manning may run to San Fernando East licking his wounds and stay there. His slanderous statement about the house and the PM, or as he calls her, “Kamla, dear,” are still posted boldly on the PNM’s Facebook site. Mr Manning is not going to leave us in peace or give anyone else a chance. Much like the rejected lover, his position is if he can’t have the people of Trinidad and Tobago no one else can. Dawn shall greet me in foul mood yet.