Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 30th 2014 Contents A7
November 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Political analysts are not ruling out a
return of former prime minister Patrick
Manning as opposition leader.
Following rumours and a poster circulating
on Facebook that six opposition MPs were
waiting to sign a letter to have President
Anthony Carmona replace Rowley with
Manning, Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said spec-
ulation alone should concern the party head-
ing into the 2015 general election.
Last week, Manning announced his inten-
tion to return as the candidate for the San
Fernando East constituency, only to be sum-
moned before the party s national executive
for possible disciplinary charges. Ragoonath
said it appeared that past problems between
Rowley and Manning still exist. In 2008,
Rowley was fired as minister of planning,
housing and the environment following a
spat with Manning.
Ragoonath said, "What we are witnessing
is a recurrence of past battles which have
not been resolved. When the PNM lost the
elections in 2010, Mr Manning was uncer-
emoniously dumped as the political leader.
"While he has since acknowledged that
Dr Rowley is in fact the political leader,
there has always been concerns whether Dr
Rowley is the best person to lead the PNM
forward. Anytime Mr Manning throws his
hat into the ring or keeps the hopes of his
constituents alive and lets the membership
of the PNM know that he is still around,
that will create some degree of imbalance."
PNM Public Relations Officer Faris Al-
Rawi charged that the poster was United
National Congress (UNC) propaganda to
create a perceived rift in the party. The MPs
listed in the poster, Patricia McIntosh, Paula
Gopee-Scoon, Fitzgerald Jeffrey, Alicia
Hospedales, Dr Amery Brown and Nileung
Hypolite have all labelled the poster as non-
But Ragoonath said to dismiss it as pure
rumour would be disingenuous. He said
Manning still has a large support of the
PNM s membership and is still influential.
"Mr Manning has made it quite clear that
he is fully cognisant of everything and to
make the connection now that it is a UNC
ploy, I think it is trying to undermine Mr
Manning s credibility. I think it is disingen-
uous for anyone to say Mr Manning was a
tool for the UNC and this was a UNC ploy."
Another analyst, Dr Maukesh Basdeo said
that if there was any truth to the rumours,
it meant there was a spilt within the PNM.
He said it was too early to dismiss the poster
as UNC propaganda. Basdeo said he waits
to see how the party progresses to the elec-
Basdeo said that with the PNM holding
12 opposition seats in Parliament, if six MPs
consent to Manning s return, Manning s
vote will give him the majority support on
the Opposition bench. He said that under
the Constitution, Manning would be recog-
nised as opposition leader, but Rowley will
still remain political leader because he was
elected as the party s leader.
"If this is true, it is going to create an
unease within the opposition party and the
membership because it signals a divide in
Congress of the People leader Prakash Ramadhar
is appealing to citizens to take prudent measures
in order to minimise the effect of falling oil prices
Band your bellies, tighten your belts, and save
This is the warning from Independent Liberal
Party political leader Jack Warner to citizens in light
of falling oil prices.
In a press release issued yesterday, Warner said
the country must remain cautious with regard to
recent statements made by Finance Minister Larry
Howai on the impact of plummeting oil prices. Howai
said as a result of the falling prices, ministries will
be required to review their budgets to determine
areas where expenditure can be suppressed to make
up the shortfall.
"The first question is whether that anticipated
cut is based on losses already experienced or based
on projected losses in which case we must ask, on
what basis those projections were made?" Warner
stated in the release.
With the Government being the largest investor
in the country and the shortfall already in the hun-
dreds of millions of dollars, Warner predicted this
would create a ripple effect on the economy, where
every citizen will feel the pinch one way or anoth-
er.Warner said the most vulnerable would be the
working class and companies that depend on the
Government for contracts.
"As the ripple moves outwards, taxi drivers, food
vendors and other persons could be affected. Job
losses, increase in the cost of goods and services,
and decline in income for small businesses are all
possible effects. This is why the minister had a
responsibility to come clean with the population
and to explain what are the possible impacts on the
national picture, not just on the Government s narrow
political agenda," Warner said.
on our economy.
Ramadhar, in a release issued yes-
terday, stated the prospect of oil prices
dipping below US $70 per barrel was
likely to happen before any stabilisation
Ramadhar attributed the falling prices
to several factors, which he said T&T
has no control over.
"The fact is that while we are still
heavily dependent on oil and gas rev-
enues, we do not exercise the kind of
influence to determine or affect oil and
gas prices. Decline in these prices puts
a strain on our economy and as the
Minister of Finance indicated to Par-
liament, it will affect our fiscal situation.
Given the projections in the short term,
there is need to take prudent measures
to ensure that we minimise the effects,"
In the last four years, Ramadhar stat-
ed that the People s Partnership Gov-
ernment managed the economy effec-
tively, as our monetary reserves remain
high and the move to diversify our
economy continues to make progress.
Ramadhar said we have shown that
we are a resilient people in overcoming
He said this situation demands a
response from us all, as we must ensure
value for money and high levels of pro-
Ramadhar to citizens on falling oil prices:
Take prudent measures
the rank and file. If this happens, it will affect the
PNM s chances because we don t know if they go
into an election, if they will be going as a single or
a divided political party."
out ManningPolitical history
In 2007, under the UNC, former political leader
Basdeo Panday did not resign his position as
opposition leader in Parliament despite him
appointing Winston Dookeran as political leader.
In 1976, Raffique Shah replaced Panday as
opposition leader. A year later, Panday regained
the majority support on the opposition bench and
was reappointed as the leader.
In 1988, the National Alliance for
Reconstruction's government (an alliance
between the United Labour Front, the Democratic
Action Congress and the Tapia House
Movement), Panday's ULF left government and
he replaced Manning as the opposition leader.
Panday had six MPs while Manning only had
Former prime minister Patrick Manning
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