Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2016 Contents 8
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 10, 2016
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Patrick Manning served as prime
minister of T&T for four terms and as
the MP for San Fernando East for 44
years before he was forced to bow
out of active politics in 2015, three
years after he suffered a stroke.
Known for his dapper dress and in-
fectious laughter, Manning was re-
garded as the consummate politician
by those who worked alongside him.
Even in the face of illness, he continued
to be positive. His wife, Hazel, said, "He
always laughing, chatting and talking.
He loved to lime with his friends."
Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning
was born in San Fernando on August
17, 1946. He received his secondary ed-
ucation at Presentation College, San
Fernando, and his bachelor's degree
from the University of the West Indies,
Mona, in 1969. After graduation he re-
turned to T&T where he worked as a
geologist for Texaco.
His colourful, four-decade political
career began when, at age 24, he was
elected San Fernando East MP. That
was in 1971 and in the following years,
he held a series of minor government
positions in the administration of Dr
Eric Williams, including parliamentary
secretary in various ministries before
being appointed junior minister in the
Ministry of Finance. In 1979 he was
given the additional position of junior
minister in the Office of the Prime
Manning got his first full Cabinet po-
sition in 1981 when, following the
death of Dr Williams, George Cham-
bers became prime minister. He was
handed the portfolios of Information
and Industry and Commerce, then
later Energy and Natural Resources.
His ascent to the country's highest
elected political office began after the
1986 general election when the PNM
suffered its worst electoral defeat.
Manning was one of only three PNM
candidates who won their seats. The
others were Morris Marshall and
Chambers immediately resigned as
political leader of the PNM and Man-
ning was appointed Leader of the Op-
position. In 1987 he was elected
political leader of the party.
However, Manning's tenure as Oppo-
sition Leader was brief. In 1988, a split
in the ruling National Alliance for Re-
construction (NAR) left the PNM as
the minority Opposition party. In 1990
Basdeo Panday was appointed Leader
of the Opposition.
Behind the scenes, Manning began
rebuilding the party, bringing new
faces to the PNM front lines. Among
them, a young Dr Keith Rowley, Colm
Imbert, the late Ken Valley and Augus-
tus Ramrekersingh. When the PNM
defeated the NAR in the December
1991 election, they were given cabinet
positions in the first Manning adminis-
Manning served his first term as
prime minister from December 17,
1991, to November 9, 1995. In 1995, he
called a general election one full year
before it was constitutionally due. The
PNM and UNC each won 17 seats and
the NAR won two seats.
The UNC and the NAR united in a
coalition and formed the Government,
and UNC leader Basdeo Panday re-
placed Manning as prime minister.
Manning, back in the position of Op-
position Leader, led the PNM to an-
other defeat in the 2000 polls.
T&T returned to the polls in Decem-
ber 2001 after the UNC lost its major-
ity in the House of Representatives
following four defections. The resulting
18-18 tie left the country in limbo until
then president ANR Robinson ap-
pointed Manning as prime minister.
Robinson would explain years later,
that it was because of his experience
with Panday in 1986 that he took that
Unable to elect a Speaker of the
House of Representatives, Manning
proceeded to rule without Parliament
until the need to pass a budget forced
him to call election in October 2002.
The PNM won by a margin of 20 seats
Manning was again elected prime
minister in November 2007 when the
PNM won 26 of the 41 seats in Parlia-
ment. This proved to be his most con-
troversial term, when rising crime and
some national projects drew public
During this time, T&T hosted two
major international events, the Sum-
mit of the Americas and the Common-
wealth Heads of Government Meeting,
and Manning pursued his vision to
make T&T the financial capital of the
Caribbean. He set up a team compris-
ing Arthur Lok Jack, Terrence Farrel,
Ken Gordon and Bhoe Tewarie, among
others, to compile a strategic plan, Vi-
sion 2020, to map the future develop-
ment of the country.
Facing mounting criticism of his
leadership style, Manning decided to
seek a fresh mandate. On April 9, 2010,
he advised President George Maxwell
Richards to dissolve Parliament and a
general election was called two years
sooner than constitutionally due on
May 24, 2010. The PNM lost to the
People's Partnership coalition led by
Kamla Persad-Bissessar of the UNC.
Following that defeat, Manning re-
signed as PNM political leader but re-
mained San Fernando East MP. It was
one of the lowest moments in his po-
litical life as the rank and file of the
party seemingly turned on him with
massive protests outside the party's
Balisier House headquarters.
Manning was sent to the Privileges
Committee following statements he
made in Parliament on November 19,
2010, during a debate on the Intercep-
tion of Communications Bill about the
private residence of Prime Minister
Persad-Bissessar. He was suspended
from the House of Representatives on
May 16, 2011.
In January 2012, Manning suffered a
stroke from which he never fully recov-
ered. By May 2015, with an election
due, he was signalling an end to his 44
years of public service. Following the
general election last September, Ran-
dall Mitchell replaced him as San Fer-
nando East MP.
On the morning of Tuesday, June 28,
Prime Minister Rowley announced that
Mr Manning had been admitted to the
San Fernando General Hospital. He
was diagnosed with acute myeloid
leukemia on Thursday and died at 8.15
am on July 2.
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