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Manning must get off 'high horse'

There is growing disenchantment and discontent within the ranks of the PNM as a result of the actions of Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Almost from day one, Manning, in the eyes of his party colleagues, has committed one blunder after another, commencing with the appointments of Hazel Manning, Knowlson Gift and Dr Lenny Saith to his Cabinet.

His actions are generating such strong criticism, both within the PNM community and outside, that party members are fearing that the party's chances will be severely damaged in any election.

Manning is doing his own thing, sources say, with dire consequences for the entire party. His Cabinet selections continue to provoke negative reaction.

The most recent set of criticisms have come from the establishment of a Ministry in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Ecclesiastical Affairs.

Critics have stated that the term, "Ecclesiastical Affairs" has "Christian" connotations and have questioned whether it was really necessary to elevate, to the status of a full Ministry, the job of establishing and maintaining relations with members of the various religious orders.

Manning's initial selection for National Security Minister, was a serving officer in the Defence Force.

He pulled back after much criticism from persons within the national community and after being strongly cautioned by a very influential person. Party sources are complaining that some of those who were moving forces within the campaign have now been marginalised. Sources pointed out that Fitzgerald Hinds, a lawyer and former policeman, who represents one of the heartland constituencies of the PNM, Laventille East/Morvant, should have been given a Cabinet portfolio, in the light of his qualifications and experience.

Pennelope Beckles who won two consecutive elections with increasing margins in Arima was made Social Development Minister.

But she subsequently discovered that she shared responsiblity for that portfolio with Donna Carter.

Sources also continue to lament the fact that the only Deputy Political Leader still to be rewarded for her contribution and efforts is Nafeesa Mohammed.

The only thing that Manning has been given high marks for is the return of the diplomatic passport to Jack Warner which showed the kind of magnanimity which could only elicit positive comment.

Though concerned, party members feel that it is still early days yet and therefore there is time to make amends. But, they point out that Manning has to descend from his "high horse" and demonstrate that he has really changed as he professed on the platform during the campaign.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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