Mr. Manning Must Go, Now

Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning
Former Prime Minister Patrick Manning
By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 27, 2010

One would have thought that after Mr. Manning made his gallant pronouncement about “taking responsibilities” for the defeat of the People’s National Movement he would have had the good sense and astute political judgment to remove himself from the leadership of the PNM immediately. Moreover, one would have thought that after he said he would be guided by what is best for the PNM that he would have fired his executive, retreat to his residence at San Fernando, allow the PNM to access its problems so that it could plan for its immediate recuperation.

Alas, this was not to be. The first day after the ballots were counted he started what the futile gesture of trying to hold on to the leadership of the party and to dictate its future. On the second day after his defeat he met with his elected PNM colleagues. After his meeting he affected feigned humility and revealed a Machiavellian maneuver to control the party and ensure he ruled from behind rather than in front.

The first decision he and his cohorts took opened the way for Mr. Manning to hold on to the leadership of the party until July. This is unacceptable. Second, and interlinked with the first, was the decision to name Amery Brown interim political leader until 2012 when internal PNM election would be held and to name Colm Imbert Leader of the Opposition. Such a move would stymie any objective that Keith Rowley be named the leader of the party and perhaps Leader of the Opposition.

The party’s first imperative is to rebuild and put it on an election footing. To do so we must re-locate the party in the future rather than in the failed ideas of the past. In this context, it is good to know that Conrad Enil, Martin Joseph and John Donaldson, all holdovers of the past, have resigned. If they have not yet resigned they must do so now. Mr. Manning must also offer his resignation. A sitting Prime Minister who leads a party into defeat; reduces its majority of 26 seats to a minority of 12; and reduces its total votes by 14,459 over the past election needs to steal away silently into the night and pay penance for such a betrayal of his people.

Whether Mr. Manning resigns or not the PNM must hold a Special Convention to re-elect new officers and strategize our future course of action. If the party does not call a Special Convention within the next month or so progressive elements within the party must call its own General Council to place our agenda on the calendar. The party has too much to do. It cannot wait another second to diagnosis its illness so that its political recuperation can begin.

After the sweet aroma of the People’s Partnership’s victory local election cannot be too far around the corner. One can confidently predict that it would be held within the next four or five months which means that by October 2010 the country will be going to the polls again.

If the PNM is to prevail or make a meaningful challenge to the People’s Partnership it must get its house in order. We must select a new leader within the next two months so that we can prepare for the battle that lies ahead of us.

It also means that we must consolidate our ranks and let them know that a small defeat but a magnificent humiliation along the way is the perfect learning recipe for our future. As my mother would say, fifty four years (of the PNM) is not fifty four days, the time in which it took to put together the People’s Partnership. In other words, the PP has fifty four years to go before it can hope to equal our record of social and political contributions to this nation.

To ensure our continued success we must reengineer our product to reflect present realities. We must also re-calibrate our political philosophy to reflect the time. While it is true that Keith Rowley has identified himself as the voice of integrity in this new era a movement cannot sustain itself on the foundation of integrity alone. It might be a necessary place to begin; it cannot be the sufficient condition of our new thrust into the future.

In an age of globalization and knowledge-based societies we must abandon a philosophy that centralizes power at the top and which, in the process, stifles the initiative and creativity of the majority of our party members. Such a tendency prevents the cream of our party from rising to the top; discourages independent thinking and devalues the work that our members do in their communities.

In this context, collective leadership must replace one-manism. Leaders must never be deified and one must never be afraid to challenge the leadership of the party. Seeking to please the leader must give way to free and frank discussion at all levels of the party. Party leaders must be promoted on the basis of talent rather than their capacity to flatter the leader.

As we contemplate the future of our party we must seek to raise the social and intellectual levels of our people rather than to cater to their animal needs. Rather than always trying to give them more (because we care about them) perhaps we ought to demand more of them and elevate the importance of their giving back to the society and themselves. We need to raise the social and cultural standards of our people and raise their aesthetic sensibilities. Rather than build the largest buildings and creating the largest industrial plants let us emphasize the building of libraries and outdoor parks and savannahs.

We thank Mr. Manning for the contribution he has made to our party and our society. We must also remind him that he committed the unpardonable political sin of throwing away the government for reasons he is yet to explain. Although he has accepted responsibilities for his political transgressions he must do more. He must resign immediately thereby allowing his party to initiate the process of rebuilding and laying the foundation for a greater PNM that is destine to continue to contribute the greater glory of Trinidad and Tobago.

21 thoughts on “Mr. Manning Must Go, Now”

  1. Well said my brother, this attempt by Mr. Manning to hold on to leadership of the party or to dictate it’s future leaders is a brazen and bold attempt at manipulation. And I must also add a continued attempt to ostracize and victimize Mr. Rowley. Mr Manning led us into an election the reasons we are yet to know, our defeat has rivaled the 33-3 debacle and he still wants to hold on to power apparently the Emperor has not shed his clothes. This born again Christian has no humility and no love for his people he is absorbed in self love, we must rise up and remove the likes of Manning, Imbert, Enill, M. Joseph,Saith et al. In concluding the only person I will retain is Joan Yuille-Williams for her tireless efforts at the grassroots level despite any shortcomings. Time to move on time for change,

    1. As christians and according to the Bible, we are not to judge anyone. Read: Jude 14, “And to these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15: to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Let’s wait and see the Lord have the final say.

  2. “We need to raise the social and cultural standards of our people and raise their aesthetic sensibilities. Rather than build the largest buildings and creating the largest industrial plants let us emphasize the building of libraries and outdoor parks and savannahs”. This is what our young people need TODAY. We cannot continue to allow our young people to believe that all they need to do is stretch our their hand and say ‘gimme’. We again must teach them how to hunt (in a proverbial sense), how to savor their gains and learn to make use of the opportunities afforded them. We cannot accomplish this with the old ‘massa’ thinking of Mr. Manning. He has had his more than 30 years of fame and we can safely infer that he is the reason for the thumbs down result of the election. Why should we have to listen for one moment to what he has to say regarding the future of the party? He is history! caput! gone! he should have the integrity to resign without anyone asking him to but if he insist on staying around we must let him know that his services are longer required.

  3. Cudjoe’s analysis is right on;however, elevating Rowley to the leadership of the PNM would be the second biggest mistake made by the party.If the reasons are not obvious to the PNM party members,then they have not learned anything from this defeat.

  4. Selwyn, I cannot fail to observe that you stopped short of mentioning the liklihood of Manning and some of those close to him being faced with possible prosecution. The fact that he lost an election should not stop the judicial process from going forward, particularly when, as it appears, that the calling of the eclection was itself part of a strategem to forestall full accountability on Manning’s part, if not on the part of wider circles in the PNM.
    At this stage Manning should be worrying more about the possible case that he has to answer respecting the massive mismanagement and misappropriation of public monies linked to him and his cronies, than on the internal politics of the defeated PNM. One can agree that the PNM has done a lot, but there is also a lot that it has failed to do, or has simply done a terrible job of doing.
    Trinidad and Tobago must be effectively put on the path to striving for zero tolerance of corruption in public affairs, and a good start in that direction can be made by continuing and concluding prosecution of the tainted UNC officials from the previous UNC administration, and by thoroughly investigating the questionable affairs of Manning and the recently defeated PNM regime. If evidence of criminal conduct is found, there should be vigorous prosecution, and those convicted must be jailed.

  5. Milk
    First Indian woman to do it. We Indians are proud of you Kamla, push for unity amongst our people. Indians around the world should be proud of this.

    This is an example of the Indian Guyanese reaction to blacks ignoring race and voting for a coalition headed by an Indian. Mannings corruption or suspected corruption pales in comparison to that of Bharat Jagdeo and the PPP. But you will nenevr see Indians crossing that ethnic chasm to vote for any coalition headed by an African.

    Time will be the final determinant of whether blacks in Trinidad are getting what they deserve. I remain adamantly unconvinced that there can be any reciprocal of what we have witnessed here if the leadership roles were reveresed. Let’s see how many of those who were slamming Manning and the PNM will be as willing to exhibit the same level of intolerance when the shyte begins to fly.

    1. I am glad to see a new government. It is healthy for our nation. There is a lot of enphasis on race when it come to the result of the election. We must learn lessons from other countries where racism is a real issue. Let just think for one minute, T&T is beautiful because of it’s people being able to co-exist as one. Let us not spoil that. If racism raises it’s ulgy head then it will be difficult to quell.

    2. I think there are still people of both races who will vote by race only. But the PNM couldn’t have been in power for so many years without some Indian support as well. The population needs to be educated on the true purpose of voting. The only criteria should be the candidate ability to govern fairly and to the best of his/her ability. The country don’t need the PNM/UNC to take care of a certain race, the government is there for all races. And if that is not achieved then the government is a failure to the country.

  6. There must be a full and open forum for the election of a new PNM leader. We must encourage candidates to come forward without fear or favour, so that a full consultation and election process will take place, and reflect the will of the people.

  7. But of course elevating Kamla to the head of the UNC was the wises decision according to you and this comedian English Literature Professor ,who claims to be an authority on subtle domestic and global politics.
    I wonder how much his Shakespearean astute thinking served Manning on his recent political forays. Can anyone dare tell me where these selfish , destructive characters that profess to be citizens have emerged from?
    I have been on records over the pat two years ,stating , with authority , that it was the stupidity of the opposition through the years , why it was only in 86 , then 95 they were able to achieve political power in our country. On January 24th 2010 in the interest of change for good , behind Kamla ,they did the wise thing by sending Panday the corrupt Political dinosaur, into permanent retirement, along with his naive daughter, and brother.
    Today however T-Man , the conniving criminal apologist ,in his typical deceptive fashion , hides behind the empty words of dR. Cudjo -our intellectual at large – in stating that the new PNM Opposition ,should ignore Dr Rowley as possible leader,when he is the only man who is solely responsible, for making governmental accountability , proper stewardship, anti corruption- especially in local businesses- and integrity , the new watch words, not only in our country , but across the Caribbean . What folly!
    With citizens like these who needs enemies, ehh?

  8. Internal PNM Strategy: 1957 style.
    In 1957 or early 1958, in Arima, candidates were being screened for the representative to the West Indian Federation. Norma Jute wanted the position, and argued forcefully for it. All the men around the table nodded wisely as if in agreement. Then Norma went to the bathroom.In the few minutes she took to answer a call of nature, the whispered words of her defeat were pronounced. I was sitting a bit back from the rest-an all male group. My father had signed me up as what was probably the youngest adult in the party. I was sixteen. I could not go to the meeting without my mother, and I was too young to vote on the business, so I observed.
    By the time Norma came back from the bathroom, she was no longer the candidate. Another name was proposed, so we had a choice of whom to vote for. Norma got one vote,probably her own.

    This piece of treachery has left a bad taste in my mouth from before the Federation. I saw firsthand the damaging whispering party leaders can do, to get what they want.(I suspect the same thing happened recently to deny Kamla the leadershipof the UNC, but she triumphed) I hope in the conclaves that choose a new leader for the PNM, no one in contention goes to the bathroom.

    This is a minutae of history, that I wanted to speak of, about something fifty-two or more yers ago. We were not even independent yet.

  9. Sure Tman, how could that ever happen when Panday walks free, ‘because he needs his meds’. Not forgetting our dear PM Kamla, “There is a role for Mr. Panday in her Administration”.

    Oh what a tangle web we weave.

    If necessary, the people…the members must revolt re any hand picked implantation and manoeurvering of a leadership team by Manning!.Let the people decide.We have shown that we are very capable of determining what is in our [the nation’s] best interest…and! we will act responsibly and honour the ex PM for his meaningful contribution over many years.
    Selwyn has hit a chord of ethnic differentiation in acceptance acrooss the boundaries…much debated over time. We can, however, begin to believe that gradual changes are possible.The youngsters can demonstrate progress and , increasingly…..truly…ONE LOVE.Give our history making first female Prime Minister an opportunity to perform and gain national love and respect from ALL sides.
    She deserves a break…and! with dignity.

  11. It,s with tremendious concern that the extent of events that ,occuerred on 05/24/2010.
    Signal the begining of yet another uncertain period in Trinidad and Tobago,s history involving the east indian ,versus the african decent races.
    An event to which have not done justice to our twin island state.

    The people need to stop allowing themselves to be pawns for the beneit of the politcians of the day and think ahead as to what kind of future are we creating for our children ,the next generation.

    Trinidadians please be concious and allow yourselfs to be think like trinidadians, and not like indians , africans,chinese,spanish,etc.Be one people and we can archive much more as a one people,apart from being segregated groups.

  12. “A somber reality and disillusion of our epoch , which emerge from the ashes of the Second World War , is that although there have been successes in the push towards development and modernization, eradication of disease and the spread of literacy, economic and political development programs have generated and stimulated , whether by collusion or in reaction, in good faith and poor anticipation, massive civil war and gruesome interracial and inter- ethnic bloodshed. The same epoch has witnessed the rise of repressive authoritarianism in both military and democratic guises , fortified by Western weaponry, and inflamed by populist slogans and fundamentalist doctrines, and assisted by a flagrant manipulation of mass media which have vastly expanded their reach.
    The optimism of sociologists, political scientists, and anthropologists ,who naively foretold the impending onset of the “integrative revolution” and inevitable decline of “ primordial loyalties” such as kinship, caste and ethnicity in third world countries, has by now waned and dimmed with disenchantment. The introduction of constitutions and democratic institutions,enshrining human rights, universal franchise, the party system, elected legislature, majority rule and so on, has often resulted in strange malformations that are far removed from the goals of liberty, justice, tolerance, and freedom that were the ideological supports of Western European and North American liberal – democratic synthesis .”
    Stanley J. Tambiah
    The question therefore is :- How do you stop the growing malaise in our post Cold War world ,that has manifested itself via collective violence amongst people, who are ‘not aliens but enemies intimately known?”
    Just began reading a 1986 book written by the above former Harvard Professor entitled, “Sri Lanka: Ethnic fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy” Never know what might pop up, and come in handy. Elements of which he tries to warn us about ,are emerging to a greater degree, not only in the Third world , but the developed , in quarters one least expects, but then we might be missing the tea leaves, yes? A word of caution is necessary in this euphoric moments . It is to ‘beware of a man with nothing to loose.’
    Much luv.

  13. Everybody in Trinidad would have something to lose if this “experiment’ goes awry. I continue to pray daily for my land, the land of the Trinity, Blessed by Columbus on sighting it, the land of three major religions, and three ethnic groups. When everybody stop eating Chinese food, when Afro-Trinis stop making roti, and Indo-trinis stop making pelau, and buljol, I will worry.

    Meanwhile,I watch from afar for signs that the new order would be a different one, not one that moves other highly qualified people to implant their own.One in which Dansook the crook would be charged for bribery, and the pursuit of other crooks on both sides would continue apace.

    The scandal of the former Dutchess of York cught on tape trying to sell influence with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, shows how universal corruption and influence peddling can be. We might find it useful to have a declaration of assets by every MEMBER of Parliament at the start of this government.Notice I did not say Cabinet, but Parliament.
    Giving someone “a little something” to get something done, is such a way of life in the world, from restaurant tips, to bagloads of money, bribery is bribery.

  14. While some are suggesting ethnic conflict and others are hoping that the new PM does not replace the CEOs of State Boards with her “own kind”, others are choosing to forget that the victory in T&T was not a UNC victory, but a victory of the People’s Partnership. The UNC won 21 seats, a slim majority which would make governing impossible. The People’s Partnership won 29 seats. This was not a victory by an ethnic based party. It was a victory by a coalition of parties. As Kamla emphasized in her victory speech, “as of tonight there is no UNC, no COP, no NJAC and no PNM”.This was a victory of the people of T&T. The politics of T&T has been changed forever. The days of tribal, ethnic based political parties are over.
    If the PNM insists on installing the failed Rowley, bury their heads in the sand and try to regain their glory days, then they are deeply mistaken and misguided. If the tribe within the UNC expects special favors from the new PM, they are sadly mistaken. In the words of Jack Warner, it’s not “we time” now, it’s the time of all of the people of T&T.
    As a party, the PNM has used up its usefulness. The PNM has to adapt to a new set of conditions .Hopefully, party officials have noticed the drastic decrease in support even in the ridings which they won. The swing voters, a group ignored by the traditional parties, have shown their power. The PNM has to evolve into an objective, unbiased, all embracing organization if it is to be successful. Similarly, the UNC cannot survive as an Indian based Hindu party. Both organizations have to recognize the power of the fastest growing group in T&T, the swing voters who stain their fingers objectively and not bound by tribal instincts.

  15. T- Man you need to stop distorting people’s words , with your stupid twisted logic, as you and others engage in this typical, euphoric, post election, ‘verbal masturbations.’ Unlike you jokers who were bellyaching for the past 15 years while out of political power ,no one on this board today is calling for, or suggesting that we are about to succumb to any form of ethnic conflicts.It’s not only ridiculous but preposterous , and you know it.
    I for one do not need to see someone that looks like myself in power, to finally adore my own country ,and be a patriot. That is instead left for you, V.S. Naipaul , and the thousand of , insecure, self loathing , country haters that has not hesitated to denounce the country of their birth when it suits them, while enjoying the benefits.
    What we the few remaining global, and politically astute,progressives are attempting to suggest instead, is that you simply accept the victory for what it is , not as some endorsement of Kamla, and many of her closet racist minions per se , but only a manifestation of our people’s faith in the ideals of globally acceptable , democratic principles, as played out in our country since 1962.
    It is therefore imperative that a proper ,vibrant, and authentic Opposition/government in waiting , be quickly put in place, with a visionary leader at it’s helm, that would help keep any emerging crooks and bandits far away from the spoils of state, in the event that they were planning full scale raids of our treasury.
    In like manner , this Opposition must ensure that arrogance , and tribalistic over zealousness, be kept at bay , so as to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago never in a million years become another obvious racist, discriminatory , mismanaged , underdeveloped den, like your neo Marxist cousin Bharat Jagdeo and his PPP allowed to occur in Guyana.
    The government, leaders, and countries that fail to adhere to basic principles of prudent sustainable development , will pay a deep price , of this you can be assured.
    Do not be misled into thinking that our people voted for Kamla , due to the fact that they were enthralled by her 5th Avenue smile, and Parisian glamourous Corazon Aqino imitation outfits.
    They do not care if she ,and her cabinet runs like grateful kids to the Sat Maharaj led Maha Saba Temple, daily for the next four years to chant, as that is their rights.
    Governmental efficiency ,along with business transparency, equitable administering of justice for all citizens,proper security that can translate to economic stability ,and empowerment for the weak, and strong alike, and proper stewardship of all our resources, including land distribution, is all that folks are looking forward to by the new administration, who has done an excellent job in talking the talk while out of power.
    Hey , my friend,I wish you well, as you pack your bags to re-embrace your country of birth once more, as a loving paradise.
    What frauds , as epitomize by T-Man the Comedian in Chief!

  16. Having read the opinions of the writers above, I can safely say that we as so called third world people have not made any real progress over the past 200 years. We being oppressed people (descendants from the plantation) which we often forget or often pretend that nothing was done to us and go about lives as though all is well. ‘’ One must ask themselves how did the third world came about’’ Its not about using words that few people could understand its about reaching the simple man’’ food for thought!
    However, we have been bombarded with ideologies from the blue eye pirates from near and far, some of which still lingers even today in the highest offices and it has cause us as a people to hate even people from our very own creed or race. ‘’ Take a look at most races who were not subjected to plantation life, there are for each other unlike us’’.
    Moving on, both Indians and Africans alike were subject to similar oppressive conditions and yet we still allow our appearance to stand in the way of our goals and objectives which are to create a better life for our children in TnT. The plantation has done great injustice to the future of our kids, there skin is their sin even from conception but yet we fight as a people over trivial issues and put the most important aside.’’ Its only three scores and ten….not much time!
    Task a look at the crime spiral in TnT for example, as we are on our way out of the world are we proud of leaving this monster behind despite some economic achievement. It is well noted we have a few tall buildings in PoS, night life to the max, good infrastructure the works but are we progressing as a people? The answer is no!! Slaves are still killing slaves ever day. On top of that, leaders are playing with people lives with their political games.
    To a greater extent most of these so called leaders of the Caribbean are guilty of this mortal sin as most will have studied abroad which I believe is a very good thing for a nation if or when they return to their native land(s) the intention is that of the blue eye pirates, i.e. rape and plunder. Instead they should exercise humility since they were more fortunate than some of us children of the plantation
    I being an economic would not say Manning was useless in whole may be in part…but I think where he might have failed is to try to recreate the plantation by his leadership policy and to compound matter he paid a blue eye pirate big money for doing nothing that to me is a sell out.’’How could you do something like that PM? Is like I said above! On top of that there are people who are living in oil rich TnT, exist almost like animals.but still run behind these clowns. Why? For Kamalar, she could only be seen as the preferred leader if she could represent the people and not misrepresent them like her predecessor by address these current issues meaningfully during her time in office. It should be noted the work must continue, it’s the people to make the difference not the leaders and if we by some miracle we could look past the colour of our skin, texture of our hair and unite, then we could restore TnT to honor.

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