What Should Patrick Manning Do?

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 03, 2015

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn March 11, 1895, after serving thirty-two years as an unofficial member of the Legislative Council (during that period the Legislative Council consisted of official and unofficial members), the Hon. Louis de Verteuil submitted his resignation to Sir Frederick Napier Broome, the governor of the island. A few days later, his Legislative colleagues wrote a commendation to express their appreciation for the service he had given to his country. He replied: For thirty-two years “I have worked in promoting the welfare and advancement of my native land. May God give it prosperity and peace! Old age has compelled me to retire, but I will always feel happy to express my opinion on any important question of the day, if the opportunity offers” (Anthony de Verteuil, Sir Louis de Verteuil).

After De Verteuil left office at the age of 87, both Sir Napier Broome and Sir Hubert Jerningham, governor, sought him out and drew on his experience when faced with matters with which they were not familiar. When De Verteuil died in 1900, Sly Devenish, one of the most important literary lights of the latter part of the nineteenth century, noted that a man of such wide experience “was of inestimable value to a Governor having sufficient independence of character to take advice from one who was not a member of his Executive Council.”

Patrick Manning eclipsed De Verteuil’s record of service and became the longest serving member of the Legislative Council, a feat in which he takes great pride. Like De Verteuil, Father Time has overtaken Manning and he can no longer serve his constituents or the country as well as he did in the past. Now the time has come to do what any statesman of stature does: retire gracefully and utilize his experience and hard-won skills to assist in guiding the leaders as they seek to advance the prosperity of the country.

There are many things that Manning can do as a private citizen. To me, one of the most glaring gaps in our present nongovernmental setup is the absence of a presidential library or building that can house the memorabilia of our past presidents and prime ministers but also promote the virtues of public service. Apart from the noble work Erica Williams has done for her father, none of our previous office holders has received the same honor and respect.

Over the past fifty years of independence there have been six prime ministers (Eric Williams, A. N. R. Robinson, George Chambers, Badeo Panday, Patrick Manning, and Kamla Persad Bissessar), yet there has been little effort made to chronicle their achievements. One looks in vain for a biography of George Chambers. Like Governor Napier he is destined to remain in obscurity unless we make the necessary effort to rescue him and others from a similar fate. And don’t think it cannot happen to Kamla and Keith.

The same is true of our former governor-generals and presidents. Since independence there have been six of them (Sir Solomon Hochoy, Sir Ellis Clarke, Noor Hassanali, A. N. R. Robinson, George Maxwell Richards, and Anthony Carmona). No significant work has been done on these leaders although there is a biography of Sir Ellis Clarke. Other than that we have done little to preserve their legacy.

A presidential library can go a long way to fill this gap. Apart from a permanent collection to house their memorabilia and their work, we can engage presidential fellows, conduct seminars and lectures of what they have done, offer grants to scholars (both at home and abroad) to write about their works and even of those illustrious leaders who went before them. I am sure that there is related work that can be done in that space.

Manning ought not to bemoan his fate. There is much that he, together with all those leaders still alive, can do to promote and to develop such a project to enhance our national memory. We wonder about the scourge of crime and other social ailments in our society, but if we value nothing in our society, even the hard work of those who have served is likely to be buried in the fog of forgetfulness.

A cynic, it has been argued, knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing. We can find fault with all those who have emerged to serve us in the best way they can. They never will be perfect, for the simple reason that perfection does not lie within men or women. It may dwell elsewhere; it certainly does not exist on earth. We should accept our leaders, shortcomings and all, and always seek to promote their best qualities.

Patrick Manning has served us well. He can continue to serve us in other capacities that have nothing to do with electoral politics.

7 thoughts on “What Should Patrick Manning Do?”

  1. Manning is hoping to die in office plain and simple. If he does not die in office he will create a lot of problem for the current leader. He will form an alliance within the PNM to further his cause. People like Manning do not wilt away into the dark passage of time, they continue to believe that they are in power and in control of the nation’s destiny. If he was to receive a spurt of good health and was functional I am sure he will be demanding his position within the party.

    The other rabble rouser is Panday who refuse to shut up and continues to think that he is still Opposition Leader. He has used his blabbering to attack the PM, her supporters has thrown a lid at him on several occasions. Power can turn men into egomaniac because they are surrounded with people who would never tell them the truth. These people can only exist in their leaders shadow. A prime example of this is Mugabe, a man who is way past his bed time but still thinks that he is the only solution to a very great nation. Mugabe is surrounded by yes people and he is made to feel important as long as he is in control. As such Mugabe plans to die in office, there is no thought of succession. Manning is no different, he has been virtually absent from Parliament but still believes he can run again for this constituency. Manning was elected time and time again and was almost defeated (rescued by Panday) when the NAR swept the election.
    There are no real exit strategies for Prime Minister or Presidents who feel once out of office that they are irrelevant to the future. Maybe Manning should be telling his final chapter by writing a book and saying goodbye in nice way. He cannot be pushed but must be gently shown the door….

  2. Hey Doc, just when would you guys get it,that old, dinosauric, political bums ,such as Patrick Manning, and his rum drinking, equally self serving, nepotistic pal,Basdeo Panday,are totally irrelevant, when it comes to T&T? No one,outside of their doting families ,or politically correct, cyber yapping die hards ,cares ,as to what they say/ do,moving forward , or worst yet,did ,while in power anymore.
    They are both dead,physically, and politically, but unfortunately, are unaware of this fact ,which just makes my case.
    Tell you what Doc, keep trotting out these,and similar, escapist suggestions,such as collaboration by the diabolical, divisive, Bengal Tiger Baz,and vindictive ,fake Christian/Tobago hater- Patios,re some opaque Presidential library, and it won’t be too long ,before Dr Fraud, our ‘excellent,’Health Minister, start pleading his case ,for St Anns to find a bed ,not only for T&T ,recent foul mouth,,female harassing ,quadriplegic ,Sanfernando homeless hero ,but you,a lofty Tunapuna,by way of Weslyan writing guru.
    Seriously Doc,what Hazel his long suffering wife,should do instead,is read a few less pages of her Bible,and spend some more time with her lonely husband.
    Perhaps , take him on a much needed vacation,maybe to one oh dem Latin American ,or South East Asia ,exotic fiefdoms,like say de DR, or Thailand,where ,for $1US,or if one prefer ,$5TT,one can get an 18 year old chica ,to give you a massage ,or other unmentionable indulgences ,for 24 hours,7 days a week.
    Hopefully-heavens forbid-he does not end up with a long delayed heart attack,in a Latino resort,or worst yet,pick up,one of many ,gender bending freaks ,that are most common in Thailand,for we know what our confusion adoring ,T&T media ,gives,si?
    Speaking of which ,all one can say is ….’Poor President Cameo,’our boy ,is still striving to recover ,from the attacks of our fat comedian,radio personality,named Price,who poked fun at his wife belly button.
    As for Baz? We know his kind ,don’t care much about praying,to sky gods,but he should be getting down on his knees daily, while performing a multitude of sacrifices to his gods,in gratitude ,that his dirt poor,low cast indenture Papa ,choose the Fatel Razack, heading for T&T,over Fiji,as his destination, upon fleeing India,decades ago.
    Why that is so you ask? Well..,let’s just say,dem Fijians,don’t take too kindly to corrupt, political power Mongrels ,who thrive on playing the tribal game,at indigenous folks expense.
    As for our T&T? Well,since most don’t give a hoot, if Good Friday falls on a Monday, you can rob our country blind ,as we like to say on de streets, and never pay a price,since you can use the same acquired loot,to pay high end lawyers, to keep you out of prison,all the while crying racism,and engaging in similar victimhood ploys.
    Thank you very much for nada ,Mr fast talking,do nothing AG Rammy,and now we know why your PM adore you so much ,and why she choose to turn a blind eye to all your missteps/faux pas,and not too closeted, neo criminal misdeeds, hmmmmm?
    I luv this land, and you? Long live de Republic of T&T!

  3. Both Manning and Bass should be making a jail all now for stealing our precious time and money and delivering commess instead.

  4. Patrick Manning was the last of the Afro-Saxon leaders this country has had to lead at its helm. He was good on infrastructural leadership but poor in many respects on his political and tactical choices in times of crisis. There is little doubt that through his leadership the rise of the gas industry took root in Trinidad and Tobago and he had the visionary qualities to build our port of entry into a Miami-like water front. He also had the vision to build an administrative building to house the many fractured departments of government in San Fernando, but our queen Aunty K had other plans to turn it into a ‘teaching hospital’. On the political side, Manning could not get over the seeming threat on the ascendancy of the now political leader, Dr. Keith Rowley. Many believed that he was so incensed by the threat that he felt compelled to call the 2010 election because, if he had won, it would have given him a more compelling reason to sideline Dr. Rowley. This as we all know was poor political maneuvering which he paid a very high price for. He lost not only his legal authority but also the moral authority to command the respect of the rank and file of the PNM. The PNM is by far the most disciplined political organization in this country’s history and if he had his way, Manning was trying to turn it into his personal fiefdom. In his last administration he staffed his ministries with people he thought he had control over and wouldn’t question his authority. The resulting outcome of that strategy was a weak performance that led to his desire to call an early election. Manning has done well with the economy and building a good infrasture but in terms of building good successors he was poor, his leadership of the party was too authoritative and dictatorial. He appeared to be a leader that advisors failed to reach because of his hardheadedness, he eventually became out of touch and with many in the part and the population at large that many now feel that it is time for him to retire from active politics. If he is smart and wants to remain with some semblance of decency and respect, it would do him well to recognize Dr. Rowley as party leader and show the population that he has a big heart. If he fails to do that and Dr. Rowley were to go on to win the next election without his blessings, he definitely would look like a fool and a sore loser. Mr. Manning, there is a time for everything, you have had your chance and made your choices, now it is another man’s turn, bow out gracefully, especially in your sickened state, give people a chance to retain some respect for all that you have done for the country. Go ahead, lay your guns down and call it a day!

  5. Sorry Kian ,I know you mean well,but I ain’t buying any of this over the top praise, for Patrick Manning.
    When a PM ,and national politician ,serve for 4 decades ,hops on a plane with regularity ,to go to Socialist Cuba,to enjoy high end medical attention,given by pal Castro,while doing nada of significance ,to enhance our T&T, domestic health Care industry, he should be treated with nothing but utter contempt.
    For the record ,we know Basdeo Panday,got his medical needs attended to, in Miami,and London,and his ardent protégé Kamla, made sure ,and schedule her health care needs ,for when she ventured on her state oriented,political tours.
    I however -in de interest of fairness-only gave them both a bye ,because of their respective ,short tenure in office.
    It’s sad but true ,that the Dr Keith Joshua Nkomo Rowley vs Patrick Mugabe Manning debate ,will unfortunately continue ,for quite some time ,as ‘divide and rule,’ has always been a factor ,among Africans ,whose ancestors endured some 400 years or more, of White Euro barbarian slavery.


    Now, if ‘rivaling Eurocentrist- mimicking -tribes,’in our T&T,who once had to deal with Basdeo Panday,and Winston Dookeran ,divided Party ,political debacles , can sense this is the case presently ,between ‘PNM – Ever Ready Bunny -Patos,’and the Mason Hall -Dr Rotwiller Rowley, ‘it’s in their self interest to capitalize,ain’t it Cuz Kian.
    There are those who naively believe that our T&T citizens ,be they from Caroni,Barataria,Caranege,Signall Hill,Sande Grande,Charlotville,or Los Bajos,are a bunch of carefree people ,who ain’t give a hoot, if good Friday, falls on about Monday,but they are wrong.
    Many know that the Kamla led , UNC dominant, PP, might need another term ,to fully put in place ,many of the more noble political initiatives ,it had promised voters ,during it’s last campaign.As such ,they can be enticed to show support ,’otra vez ,’come ,our upcoming election.
    They know likewise ,that Auntie Kamla,could not have anticipated ,such a drastic fall in oil prices, and so can be encouraged ,to accept the post 2014 budget ,belt tightening poison,she is suddenly forced to deal out, to keep our still, vastly underachieving country ,afloat.
    They are aware , that it’s her 5 male predecessors, led by Papa Deffy Eric ,and fake Christian,Sando Geologist Manning, who would have been in a true position,to initiate meaningful diversification of our economy, so as to make us as a nation ,less dependent ,on fast depleting oil/gas natural resources.
    Since many are aware that a prospective leader don’t have to be head of a political party,or better yet PM ,to push forcefully, a concrete agenda,many would think that’ PM in waiting,’in Dr Kieth Rotwiller, might be just ‘blowing smoke up his rear pants leg,’if he suddenly ,wishes to pontificate profusely, about Tobago neglected Tourism industry,or more industrialized Trinidad ,lack of diversification-when he had decades along with ‘Tobago despising Patrick Manning,’to do something about both issues.
    They may also be happy to know that Uncle Rowley,appears to be a no none sense anti corruption leader,who was prepared to put principles before party,to sink Manning, and his Canadian Hart friend ,or likewise ,diligently strives ,to hold this PP regime accountable,on all fronts ,in his capacity as Opposition leader.
    Is Kamla attempting to come off as a caring leader,by postponing austerity measures,such as eradication of gas subsidies ,as claimed by Dr Rowley? no se.


    Only our 1.3 million people ,and we can throw in 110 thousand illegal immigrants -many of which might be able to soon vote – can decide that.
    Let’s agree on one thing Bro Kian,and it’s this:-nation building ,ain’t and easy preposition. The challenge always remains, in finding the right types of patriotic ,visionary leaders.
    Let’s wish our people well!

  6. I will echo the general sentiment on this blog comment section; Mr. Manning needs to exit the stage in a dignified manner. However, as Mamoo correctly asserts, the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East does not seem interested in leaving the stage gracefully and is prepared to engage in no small measure of political mischief if he is forced out of the party in an unceremonious manner.

    He may no longer command the widespread political support that he once had, but he may try to find other ways to be an unwelcome distraction in the PNM’s bid to return to power. His narcissism delusions of grandeur are preventing him from seeing the bigger picture, i.e. the collective good of the party.

    However, maybe he is not really interested in the overall wellbeing of the People’s National Movement; maybe it’s really all about Patrick Manning personality and the audacity of one Dr. Keith Rowley to aspire to the position which he believes is his by divine right.

    In any event, reality indicates that Mr. Manning is way past his sell by date politically and would do well to spare himself any further embarrassment and any political damage to the PNM, assuming that he is concerned about the general strength of his party.

  7. “Let’s agree on one thing Bro Kian,and it’s this:-nation building ,ain’t and easy preposition.”

    As a budding digital Activist myself ,I just don’t wish for dem ,well known ,Eurocentrist- Cybernetic- Grammar police ,to start going after yours truly ,for my glaring mistake of saying, ‘preposition,’as opposed to ‘Proposition,’ in my last response.
    Deepest apologies folks.
    As we the civilize in our T&T, join others across the globe, in extending repeated outrage -be it in the Nigerian North ,close American anti terror ally,Pakistan ,and now France,as led by Islamist neo terrorist miscreants ,may good sense continue to prevail, in 2015 ,& beyond ,as our respective pro- tribalist ,civic,political,and business leaders ,continue to seek ways ,to foster collaborative efforts ,towards ,what I ,and similar others in the International Relations community, describe as ‘Human Security.’


    Trust me when I say ,that big sticks,war thanks ,and APC’s can only protect global citizens so far,as we can see.
    Don’t allow our leaders ,to indulge in similar escapist follies, T&T.
    Stay vigilant people!

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