Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 4th 2016 Contents Politics and differences were put aside when
politicians, businessmen, friends and family came
together at the Vistabella home of the late prime
minister Patrick Manning, during his wake on
Hymns and prayers were heard coming from
inside the Mannings home at Sumadh Gardens
and those who attended described the atmosphere
as peaceful. Members of the media were not allowed
to attend the wake.
Manning, 69, died at the San Fernando General
Hospital around 8.15 am, two days after he was
diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia.
In an interview with reporters in front the Man-
nings home, attorney Mickela Panday, the former
Oropouche West MP and daughter of United
National Congress founder Basdeo Panday, said
her immediate reaction to Manning s death was
"It happened very quickly," said Panday, who
has not spoken to her parents, who are abroad,
since Manning s death.
She described as "fabulous" the period of politics
when her father Basdeo Panday and Manning were
in their prime and butting heads.
"It was a difficult type of politics, a different
time," she said, adding there was always great
She said a couple months ago she was lucky to
see Manning and he gave her words of wisdom.
Personally, she said her greatest memory of Man-
ning was the 33-3 defeat the People s National
Movement suffered to the National Alliance for
Reconstruction (NAR), after 30 years of consecutive
rule. What she learnt from Manning was to stay
strong, stick to what you believe in, don t flip flop
and fight to the end. Describing the wake as nice,
she said: "It was peaceful, calm, great fellowship."
Saying he had known Manning all his life, Attor-
ney General Faris Al-Rawi, who also attended, said
Manning was an inspirational and incredible leader
who, like other PNM leaders, was charismatic and
"Public life is really a difficult experience. It can
be a drain on your soul at times to be the target
of criticism, to be the target of some of the not
so pleasant things in life."
He said the strength to forge ahead came from
the strength of others and Manning was one of
those people. (SW)
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Smiles lit up their faces and tears welled
as residents of the childhood neighbour-
hood of the late Patrick Manning, Cocoyea
Village, San Fernando, reflected fond mem-
ories of a young Manning yesterday.
While many of them who knew him as
a child have either migrated or passed on,
the T&T Guardian did manage to find his
childhood friend and schoolmate Monica
Skinner, 70, who cried and laughed as she
recalled the mischievous and humble boy
she fondly called "Sonny."
Skinner lives a few houses away from the
Mannings house at St Andrews Avenue,
where Manning grew up with his parents
Elaine and Arnold and four sisters. His eldest
sister died at age 17. (See page A7)
Still living in the house is his stepmother
Esther Manning, who married his father
sometime after his mother s death in 1977.
His father died in 1998.
Wiping away tears as she reflected on her
memories of her close friend, Skinner said:
"I really does call him Sonny, we grow up
together, we went to school together at San
Fernando Government School, we bathe
together, we eat together, we bathe in the
pond together, we play together, we play
marble pitch, everything together."
The pond, which was located opposite
her home, is now the site of a community
pool erected under Manning s prime min-
"I could remember many years aback that
the watchman for when he steal the man-
goes. We both was frighten. When he pick
the mango from Granny Bishop, is rose
mango, a old lady, we had to hide the mango
under a black sage tree. We cannot go home
with the mango because we going to get
licks, so we leave the mango right there.
When is time to go back for the mango the
mango ripe," she recalled.
"Well I really did not know he was so
annoyed, he telling me Monica, you let the
mango ripe, so I tell him how I could let
the mango ripe and he come and he slap
me around my head, one slap I say "I going
to tell miss (Manning s mom), but he did
not take me on."
Remarking on the closeness between the
both families, she said Manning would visit
her home every day and he was like her
However, she said the Mannings were
poor and Manning would often eat at her
home. "I could remember when my father
was working at the bakery and I could
remember when my father bring the flour
in the bag and we would take the flour and
mother would open the bag and my mother
would send six flour bag up by the Mannings
and them and that is to make shirts and
uniform for them, we getting it to."
She also recalled how Manning would
sometimes go to school with soleless shoes.
Describing him a happy and humble boy,
she said: "I never thought he would become
the prime minister, but I knew he was going
to be some person high because no doubt
about it, hungry or not, when I use to miss
out church, his mother seeing that they go
to church whether they have to go barefeet."
When she heard about his death on Sat-
urday morning, Skinner said she sat in a
daze on the couch for about five hours. She
said T&T had really lost a great leader.
When the T&T Guardian stopped off at
the Manning s childhood home, his siblings
Pamella, a psychiatrist who lives in Canada,
Pansetta, who lives in Arima, and Dr
Petronella Manning-Alleyne were chatting
with their stepmom in the gallery.
But only Manning-Alleyne agreed to be
Recalling how the area was surrounded
by bush and a guava patch in their childhood
days, she said there was no electricity or
running water. She said they got electricity
when she was about eight-years-old.
She said her brother, the third among the
siblings, would often get himself into mis-
Laughing as she spoke about Manning,
she said: "He was always a fun guy, he was
real mischievous, he had a sidekick living
up the road on the corner name Victor
Camacho and they used to get into all kind
of mischief. You see the plum tree up the
road, they raided that, those people use to
go down to Buenos Ayres for vacation."
She recalled their hasty retreat one day
when the man returned home while Victor
was in the tree and Manning on the look-
"Nice boyhood mischief," she recalled,
adding, "Everyone is P Manning so when
the mail comes and is P Manning is just
the oldest one who could open it."
Resident Roland Thomas and his family
put up a PNM flag in honour of Manning
when they heard of his death on Saturday
and intend to leave it there as a tribute to
him for about a month.
Cocoyea/Tarouba councillor Rondell Don-
awa suggested that the community pool or
the Narin Avenue play park in his neigh-
bourhood be named in his honour.
DEATH OF A PRIME MINSTER
He was destined for greatness
Childhood friend, Cocoyea remember 'Sonny'
Monica Skinner, 70, childhood friend of
former prime minister Patrick Manning,
weeps as she recalls some of her fun
memories growing up with him at her
Cocoyea, San Fernando, home yesterday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
The House of Representatives
will today pay tribute to late for-
mer prime minister Patrick Man-
ning, who held the record of being
the longest serving Member of
Manning died last Saturday at
San Fernando General Hospital,
where he was warded for five days
battling a lung infection. He was
subsequently diagnosed with Acute
Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a rare,
very aggressive cancer of the blood.
A former People s National
Movement (PMN) leader and MP
for San Fernando East, as well as
the fourth and sixth prime minister
of this country, Manning had
devoted 44 of his 69 years to
T&T s public service.
Today, the House of Represen-
tatives, where he d represented San
Fernando East for a record period
from 1971 to 2015---and where he
once held the spotlight as prime
minister---will feature tributes from
the ruling PNM and Opposition
Finance Minister Colm Imbert,
expected to act as Prime Minister
from today due to Prime Minister s
Dr Keith Rowley s attendance at
the 36th Caricom summit, will
lead Government s tribute. Oppo-
sition Leader Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar will also speak. MPs will
observe a minute s silence in obser-
vance of Manning s passing.
Tributes to Manning from
regional leaders will also be among
highlights of today s opening cer-
emony of the Caricom summit
being held in Guyana until
Wednesday. Rowley is expected to
leave for the summit this morn-
Yesterday, Rowley visited Man-
ning s wife Hazel, son David and
other relatives at the family s Vista-
bella, San Fernando, residence, it
was confirmed. A team of public
servants also met yesterday with
the Manning family to work out
funeral details. A family
spokesman, as well as Minister
Stuart Young (Prime Minister s
Office) expected that by today
details should be finalised.
Proposals so far are to have
Manning s body lie in state at the
Southern Academy for the Per-
forming Arts (SAPA) on Thursday
and at the Northern Academy
(NAPA) on Friday. Both structures
had been Manning s initiative.
A state funeral will be held on
Saturday at Trinity Cathedral,
Port-of-Spain, incorporating the
neighbouring Woodford Square
Tributes in House today
unite at his wake
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