By Stephen Kangal
August 26, 2014
Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning now in the twilight of his long political career, albeit sadly interrupted by an unfortunate cessation of blood to part of his brain, made a fool of himself by concealing more than revealing in his Press Statement on the magnanimous offer of an ORTT by the Prime Minister.
How can a former Prime Minister and longest serving MP not know and appreciate the subtle and quite obvious distinction and separation between the party that is the UNC/COP and the current Government; between political matters/banter transacted in the cut and thrust of the electioneering hustings on the one hand and matters of state involving the offices of The President/ the Prime Minister during the most important national occasion on our celebratory calendar?
Will Manning now admit that he has forgiven, forgotten and retracted as untrue the speech he made on the raging bull/wajang as PM in Parliament because he has given a direct endorsement of Mr Rowley who according to him “…will bring back pride in our liberty…” Age is not bringing back political wisdom.
Mr .Manning of all persons ought to know and remember that the CJ-Chaired National Awards Committee straddles all Administrations. It is not unique and exclusive to the PNM as he deliberately and erroneously posited in his prepared statement. Additionally the Office of the Prime Minister does not contact the nominees for their prior approval. The Office of The President performs that function.
This is the last week of August by which time a former three time PM for many years (12) ought to remember that the National Committee would have done its work and submitted its recommendations to the PM who has the powers as Manning did to add and subtract and forward the approved list for implementation by His Excellency The President. It is the President who releases the names to the media for publication on the morning of 31 August annually and not the OPM.
What does Manning mean by “dignity?” Prime Ministerial nominations/additions to the list do not go before the National Awards Committee.
The “I” in Manning has clouded his judgment. His prepared Press Statement is a poor reflection on his advisers/speech writers who wanted to throw dust in our faces by claiming victimhood and alleging that the PP won the 2010 elections because they attacked the personal integrity of poor, convalescing, Mr. Manning.
The PP won and Mr. Manning lost the 2010 elections because the people had enough of him. They gave him a 29/12 meltdown verdict fueled by the prodigal spending of his sweet-Hart, his property tax, rapid rail, UDECOTT, secret scholarships. Even Arima, La Horquetta, D”Abadie/ O’ Meara rebelled against him in an unprecedented historical rejection of the PNM and its vindictive agenda.
It had nothing to do with his alleged character assassination by the UNC/COP but his puerile vendetta against our Penny from Arima and Hazel calling Arima bush.
The electorate spoke very loudly on 24 May 2010 and this cost him several seats in the East.
If millionaire Mr .Manning now in receipt of an MP salary and full salary as PM as his pension had any principles he would have refused the largesse doled out to him by the Prime Minister for defraying his recent medical attention received abroad since he cannot distinguish between the party and the Government. That would have been consistency and his cosmetic claim to statesmanship.
Mr .Manning on the cusp of his retirement from parliamentary politics is still being economical with the truth even though he had time to consider what he had to say to salvage his integrity and reputation and politely refuse the offer of the ORTT from the Head of governance.
That is what 12 years as Prime Minister and serving as an MP/Minister since 1971 under Prime Ministers Williams and Chambers should have instilled in him. He was the elder/ more experienced statesman compared to the sitting Prime Minister. He sacrificed his duty to display humble statesmanship on the altar of political expediency and one up-manship in the twilight zone of his political career. Political blood is really thicker than water.
Perhaps he was talking to his exclusionary PNM 28% and not all of T&T because he cannot appreciate the consistent magnanimity extended to him by this inclusionary-prone Prime Minister sister Kam.