Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2016 Contents Page 4
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning
Patrick Manning was known for his
charisma and his ability to relate to people
at all levels in society. Here, some of the
T&T Guardian s readers remember their
encounters with the former Prime Minis-
Ian MS Royer
Marketing Consultant, Toronto
Patrick Manning was one of the most inter-
esting men I ever had the pleasure to work
with. He taught me that the price we pay to
be powerful, was that we were slaves to the
people who entrusted us with power.
I first met him at the CHOGM and fifth
Summit of the Americas meetings. He fought
tooth and nail to ensure as many youth from
T&T could attend these meetings, not PNM
youths, but all youth who were interested in
politics and diploamcy.
His instructions to the local delegates before
each summit were, "First, learn everything
you can; second, network as much as you
can and lastly support each other. Not all of
you can have action at the summit, but sup-
port those who can." I will never forget that.
I met him again during the 2010 Election
campaign, when I worked with a small team
to enhance his digital and social media pres-
My fondest memory was the day of a major
rally in Maloney. That day was hard, the elec-
tion fight was failing, allegations of corruption,
theft, poor governance and obeah were rife
and there was rapid fire from the opposi-
I had very little faith that we would win
and we decided to have "Goth Day" in the
office. Former minister Gary Hunt came to
the team and said, "pack your equipment,
it's time to go to Maloney."
By then, I had these men trained that I
was weird, so Gary did not bat an eyelid at
Goth Ian - meanwhile my shame found me,
going to meet the Prime Minister, in goth
attire and flip flops. Anyway it was the height
of the election campaign, and we headed to
Maloney, make up and all!
Because of his schedule and his personality,
the best time to catch him for an interview
was before he went onstage. He was a gifted
orator and we would ask him non-political
questions to piggy back on his adrenaline
Camera crew in tow, we were presented
to Mr Manning and all I could have asked
was: "So Mr Manning, how did you end up
marrying a lady like your wife?"
That man lit up like a Christmas Tree. I
don't remember his reply word for word, but
what I remember was this formidable, and
powerful man suddenly sounding like a
teenaged boy, blushing and gushing about
falling in love with his wife because she could
He said Hazel's beauty stole his breath
away, her humour stole his heart and his
happiest moments were when he was allowed
to be Patrick the Husband, Patrick the Father
and still have his family support him to be
Patrick Manning, the servant of the people
Interview bagged, the team prepared the
edited video for upload and I stood alone
with him as he got ready to address one of
the biggest crowds of the campaign. He asked
if I would pray with him, and of course I did
- black eyeliner and flip flops and all.
Just before he turned to me and said, "Son,
it takes a lot of bravery and a bit of wit to
interview me, and brave this crowd dressed
He turned to me and said, smiling, "That's
the kind of bravery I wish I had when I took
over the PNM, when I was about your age.
Don't ever lose that bravery eh son, never
lose yourself or compromise your happiness
for anything or anyone."
That night the power in his voice was hyp-
notic, and to this day I have never seen a
politician move a crowd like Mr Manning.
When the PNM lost the election, party
faithful outside Baliser House on election
night felt slighted when he didn't address
them. I was one of the few that got to speak
to him after. People do not understand how
much of himself he poured into the country
and into the party. I don't think the defeat
hurt him as badly as the sense that he failed
I never saw him again in person. For all of
his faults, Patrick Manning was a great man.
Many of us only know him as the Prime
Minister, few really knew or understood that
he also knew the reality of failure, betrayal
and loss. He was human. But no one can
deny, he had one of the most powerful visions
for T&T and Caricom, he was adamant on
protecting, educating and uplifting our youth,
and he fought for all of us with every ounce
of his being.
Today I do not mourn him, I celebrate him.
I mourn for his family, his friends and I mourn
for our Nation.
Rest in Peace, you were an inspiration and
a true son of the soil.
Darcel de Vlugt
I met Mr Manning at the tender age of
five when my family was one of the few
Trinidadian families living in Cyprus at the
time of a Commonwealth conference in the
early 90s. My mother tracked him down,
managed to speak to his assistant and find
out when he would be passing our area on
the highway. My mother, brother and I parked
at the side of the highway, draped our Suzuki
Swift in a huge Trinidad & Tobago flag and
waited patiently for the official car to pass
on its way to the conference.
A police vehicle with Cypriot police officers
stopped to confront us, this crazy woman
with her two young kids dressed in all red,
white and black and waving Trinidad flags.
We said our Prime Minister was coming down
the highway. They didn't believe us. They
parked up at the side and waited, ready to
cart us off to the police station if necessary.
Imagine their surprise when not only did
a black car convoy come sailing down the
highway with the same flag as ours, but each
one of the three cars pulled aside and stopped
right in front of our car. Out jumped two
bodyguards in their suits. And then out
stepped Patrick Manning, our Prime Minister,
with a rose for my mum, followed by his
We took photos with him and gave him
hugs at the side of the highway in the middle
of nowhere on this Mediterranean island as
the local police looked on in disbelief that
my mum had been telling the truth. As the
contingent pulled off, the police car rolled
up and offered to escort us as far as our exit.
It is one of my earliest memories.
Mr Manning, thank you for making time
for my family that day despite your sched-
ule.May you rest in peace always.
Make-up and all
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