Mining the Mind of Manning

By Stephen Kangal
September 17, 2008

PM Patrick ManningIn the face of the unforgivable, non-public disclosure of the text of the August 14 MOU as well as the disrespectful-to-the- people silence on the obligation to outline the compelling economic, political and trade considerations that underpin and drive the urgency of PM Manning’s proposed political union with three OECS countries there has arisen, quite understandably a range of informed speculation on what really motivates the mind of Manning. Many believe that personal (hubris) and subjective (legacy) considerations dominate, determine and drive his political union initiative.

PM Manning has indicated that the principal impetus for the union is the slow pace of progress on integration being achieved within the CSME. I am not unduly concerned with his economic union by 2011. I am concerned with the hastiness and impulsiveness that underpin his 2013 political union proposal.

UNC Leader Panday attributes a red herring role to Manning’s union proposal for the latter to divert attention from a range of domestic failures of his Administration. Sagewan-Alli (Express) believes that the union will provide PM Manning with an opportunity to realize his dream of being the first Executive President. The influence of the hubris factor of Manning’s over-confidence and arrogance has been put forward by Lucie-Smith (Express) while Michael Harris (also Express) believes that PM Manning has an obsession with eking out and establishing a legacy from his Pan-Caribbean initiative to impress posterity.

Tony Fraser (Guardian) thinks that ethnic concerns in Guyana and T&T cannot be discounted while Reginald Dumas (Express) is of the view that Manning has over-simplified and down-played the constitutional and other challenges that bedevil the union initiative. I have expressed the view that Manning’s union idea is designed to up-stage the Chavez PetroCaribe deal among Caricom countries.

Still another thesis is based on his agenda to nullify the recently established maritime boundary with Barbados as well as to pre-empt establishing future maritime boundaries with Grenada and St. Vincent.

The exclusion of Guyana adds credence to the electoral security argument and some Indo- critics (Guardian) prefer unification with Suriname and Guyana. Former Senator Teelucksingh expressed the view that the process that excluded consultations with the people is a manifestation of PM Manning’s dictatorship. Meanwhile Senator Seetahal (Guardian) believes that the OECS countries are in it for what financial short-term help they can extract from a cash-abundant T&T. They will not surrender their sovereignty. Manning should fix T&T first she says.

Gillian Lucky (Guardian) thinks that it is a step in the dark signifying dictatorship at work. A Newsday editorial is concerned that the absence of Barbados from the proposed union quadrilateral weakens the initiative. PM Thompson has given an interview to the CMC rejecting the political integration initiative.

Rickey Singh (Express) laments the top-down, no-consultations with the people and lack of a bipartisan approach to the initiative. Selwyn Ryan is of the view that the PNM base may not be supportive of the idea. Manning’s convenient invocation of the 1956 integration objective by the PNM is historically and politically misplaced.

Andre Bagoo (Newsday) expresses the view that the union will dismantle current racial voting patterns in T&T because the Indians will become a minority and there will be non-racial, issues-based African dominance in what he calls “true politics”. Clevon Raphael (Guardian) believes that it is all ego-driven vaps and hype.

Take your picks readers from the informed spin doctors!

7 Responses to “Mining the Mind of Manning”


  • He does not have a mind as we know it.

    He does have an ego at the least.

  • Mr. Shah, thank you for keeping me informed about this idiotic event which was intended to show solidarity with the governing PNM Party and its leadership. When I learned that CEPEP and URP workers would be paid a day’s pay and be provided the resources, i.e., transportation with food, drink and fun, by the government, to attend this political event, I was stunned. Surely, the government had better line-items to pay with this money. These workers’ already have no desire to do the jobs they get income for, as I see them in my C/Bay neighbourhood doing nothing but sitting under trees or hiding in people’s yards during their work shifts. These workers’ have no clue what work is! Surely, the government could have designated this extra cash to citizens whose homes had been flooded out or destroyed in one of the many floods. It is very interesting to observe the operators in this government create and attend fete after fete for an entire year and amplify their obvious disregard for the people’s pain with speeches on what they have planned for the country, plans the people can never see materialize. I hope that road to Salybia that MP Imbert said would be completed in six months [June 2008] has been completed and the ceremonial ribbon has been cut so that we can all go to the under-developed beaches and drown our Trinidadian sorrows. Last week my American girlfriend asked me about beach resorts in Trinidad and Tobago and I told her there are none, and to get a sanitary beach with resort-cabana services, she and I must go to Barbados. My girlfirend then asked me why did I visit Trinidad so often? I said because I love Trinidad—it’s in my soul. I continued my refrain to my girlfriend—my four to five times per year return to my family’s home is a utility bill payment that takes the form of my cleaning up my mother’s road sides where the grass grow tall as trees unless my family pays unemployed village residents with gas operated weed-cutters to cut bush where CEPEP and URP workers’ had claimed they had cut, and to clear the clogged government drains of the CEPEP and URP workers’ trash deposited every 10-days. Apparently, every one is afraid of these CEPEP and URP workers’ because they are known as either criminals or associates of criminals and they will damage your property or you if you dare to turn them in because of their uselessness. Washington, D.C.

  • Is that the same neglected Washington DC the capital where your Mayor Mr. Barry was caught in a crack smoking sting operation and voted back into office in a landslide victory?
    So you told your girl friend that your country lacks any fesible sanitary beach resorts like that of Barbados , yet you return frequently to your country because you “love Trinidad – in your soul.” You are disgusted at poor infrastructure and scared of local workers that you believe are a front for local gangs.
    Instead of lamenting about a crappy old house why not sell it Ms. Brooks and take the money, along with the 1/2 million US you are setting aside to build buy your retirement home in either dreary Arizona,the Tornado infested Carolinas ,or Hurricane state Florida , and instead invest it in a beach resort that can rival Barbados or Nigril Jamaica? How the hell do you believe Barbados and Jamaica got the type of resorts and cabana services they possess that you seem to adore, by wishful thinking ? Did you stop to think that your girl friend might be interested in doing some investments herself like the many Europeans that are fixated on Tobago are presently doing by flocking there , but that your negative statements would instead put a dent to such thinking? Quit crying , and denouncing your country , and make efforts to step up and be part of the solution.
    If more folks like yourself keep this distabilization diatribe and similar nonsense up, I promise myself to encourage our good government to finally create an efficient unit that can hunt some of you down whereever you reside across the globe , snatch your passports away and ban you all for life from the country of your birth. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

  • The proposed Trinidad & Tobago Constitution appears to be the brainchild of the PNM. If the proposed Constitution becomes the law, Patrick Manning could become the first President of Trinidad & Tobago. He could also become the President of the new political union that is being proposed among the ECS. This raises the following questions: Should the PNM exclusively decide the framework of the new T&T Constitution? Why would the PNM be pushing for a new T&T Constitution that would create an executive president, and political and economic integration with the ECS all at the same time? I believe that these questions are of great importance. If the political union becomes a reality, the PNM could expand the party into the other islands. Also, CEPEP, URP or similar programmes could also be created within the other islands. This would guarantee that the PNM would be running the show well beyond 2020 with very little political opposition.

  • Neal – You are certainly enraged by my commentary. I’m sorry to offend your sense of patriotism. I am American and Trinidadian [dual citizen]. I already have the beach home at St. James Barbados as my family roots are tapped into the soil of Barbados—through my dearly departed Grandmother of Bridgetown. I know the truth of one’s country hurts and I know this all too well as I hurt too. My current contributions to my C/Bay village do include working with my neighbours to beautify the village and this requires me to spend my money for civic projects in the village so that the senior citizens do not fall down a break their necks, and the children can grow up in the same sound environment that I had in the 50’s and 60’s. Now you know that I’m old school. You must know that the country [T&T]is under flooding conditions the moment it rains. With regard to the former Mayor the the District of Columbia [Washington, D.C.], again he was elected to the Office of the City Council to serve the City’s Ward 8 community where all the current development projects are Federal buildings for relocating federal employees who now occupy private sector rental buildings across the City. Council Member Barry is regained his respect after serving his penalty in jail for breaking the law as all outlaws must. Mr. Barry had never misappropriated any of the City’s revenue, and while he held the Mayoral Office, our city’s development was prudently effecient and effective. We in the District of Columbia, are currently living with the benefits of the former Mayor Marion Barry’s governance. I cannot speak to his personal issues as the court’s disposition is historic as you restated in your commentary. And yes, I have been to Tobago, at the former Hilton-LowLands, Mt Irving Beach Club and Arnos Vale Hotel and although each has its charm, the Barbadian resorts are what Americans seek in vacations. And yes, I have had several American friends to my family’s home at C/Bay and they return for the family fun as time allows. Washington, D.C.

  • This is a first-hand account: I was a visitor to T&T for Carnival 2008 where I observed CEPEP workers – many of them young persons – diligently going about their duties, cleaning the streets of POS on Carnival Monday & Tuesday and at various other events that I attended preceding those days. And I was curious about their motivation to work on days when many young people were concerned with having fun with their friends. And I said aloud to my companions: let no one say that Trins are lazy and don’t want to work. Here is proof that that is not the case. It is unfair (unethical perhaps) to demonize the many hard working people of CEPEP and the URP as many accounts of laziness, etc. are not based on empirical evidence.

  • Martin ,many years ago while I was a student in some unimportant obscure high school in our country , I had the previlige of hearing a lecture by a guest author. I cannot remember a single word of the exact lecture as such since it occured some three decades ago.
    What however remained embedded in my memory however was one comment he made come question time. The gist of it was as follows : “One of the reasons why the Caribbean has failed to develop to the extent that it should, was because it lacked leaders with new ideas.”
    Mr Manning’s plans could very well be suspect as it might be laced with all sort of Marchevillian motives, but so be it. Simply indicate to me one single novel idea that Basdeo Panday and his racially formulated and devisive band of political diciples have brought forth for the development of our country ,so as to elevate it -with all it’s abundant wealth/resources -to some level of regional/ global respectability it deserves.
    When Jamaica , Barbados and similar insignificant resource barren countries ,are setting the agenda on social , economic, and political issues , and are commanding respect across the globe while we continually play catch up because of these and similar self serving influential country haters ,and race baiters then we are in serious trouble.
    When pseudo communist Jagdeo of Guyana and his type of politics is looked at as a model for Trinidad then you have a problem. So- called democratic India could fool itself into believing that it is an emerging first world country because it possess nuclear weapons, millions of people in poverty ,and social accepteance of full scale etchnic inequality due to cultural acceptance of the caste system.These divisive agents can look with laschivious eyes at these models in hope that some of it can be replicated here as well.Tell them however that it won’thappen. The way forward is to make people across the nation as stakeholders ,while you repress greed.It is time for dispensations of novel ideas,as too much energy is wasted on so called racially insignificant matters when our people generally do not have a problems with each other as these agents would like us to think.This massively rising mixed population is not the result of some Venus driven invasion,and that is the grope that will remain a torn in the side of these perenial hatemongers for some considerable time to come.

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