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Mining the Mind of Manning
Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

By Stephen Kangal
September 17, 2008

In 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!

Share your views here...

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