Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister and ex-San Fernando East MP Patrick Manning passed away at 8:15am today at the San Fernando General Hospital, after battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Manning was 69 and, according to his wife Hazel Manning, was being prepared to undergo treatment. A statement from Manning’s family said he was surrounded by his family and loved ones in his final moments. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
The following is a statement from People’s National Movement PRO and POS North/St Ann’s West MP Stuart Young on Manning’s passing:
It is with a great sense of sadness that the PNM Family has been informed of the passing of Mr Patrick Manning, former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and former Political Leader of the PNM.
On behalf of the members of the PNM and on behalf of the Executive of the PNM, I take the opportunity to express our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to Ms Hazel Manning, her sons and Mr Manning’s wider family.
Mr Manning served Trinidad and Tobago for decades as a leader with great vision and his passing is a loss to the Nation and to his party, the PNM.
We join in prayer for his soul and his family and thank him and his family for his life and his invaluable contributions.
We ask that God rest and bless Mr Manning’s soul.
Editor’s Note: Members of the public can sign the Condolence Book for Mr Patrick Manning, former Prime Minister and former Political Leader of the PNM, at Balisier House from 8 am to 6 pm from Sunday 3 July 2016 to Friday 8 July 2016.
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I think the greatest accolade paid to him so far is from Dominica where they will have two days of mourning for him.
Honoring Patrick Manning
Unfortunately, I have no personal anecdote regarding the late Mr. Patrick Manning that I can share, as the only thing of consequence that he has contributed to my life has been his untimely demise which now prevents me from publishing a missive on the genesis of our leaders in Trinidad and Tobago, which was meant to be sent on the very day that he died. Not that the piece painted Mr. Manning himself in a bad light, but following the cascade of emotional and positive tributes that have poured in from all spheres, it may be considered bad taste to comment on anything even remotely negative regarding either his personal or professional life. Listening to the praises sung by none other than Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar in Parliament yesterday was so eloquent and touching, it makes me almost eager to hear her tribute to Mr. Basdeo Panday when he inevitably passes away.
I say this all a bit tongue in cheek, not to make light of Mr. Manning’s tragedy mind you, but because it’s remarkable to see the nation come together to mourn such a polarizing figure. While he did have his flaws, who among us don’t, we still recognize that his actions have always been with the best interest of the country in mind. But to hear some of his detractors even go as far as to now justify some of the biggest controversies surrounding him, such as the “necessary evil” that was Calder Hart, makes we wonder what else we were misled into believing, not only regarding him, but also our other leaders and politicians. But putting all this aside, we should take comfort in the fact that he may be remembered in death as a pioneer and visionary who single-handedly prevented the PNM from going extinct, while also developing the nation in a fair-minded and progressive manner, rather than the way that we considered him while he was alive.
While certain persons are now calling on Mr. Manning to receive the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for his many accomplishments in service of our nation, I personally believe it may be a disservice to his honor. While I also had the idea immediately after his death, I realized that his decision to refuse the award only ten months ago should be respected lest we diminish both the act and the man. At that time, he felt that not only was the gesture a political gimmick, but also he still held the office of the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East at the time, which may have disqualified him from the award. Since then, the PNM had both retired him from office and acquired government, and as such, any move to reverse his decision may be as contrived as the initial offering. But there is another avenue available that seemingly no one has considered, that may be more fitting and deserved than the token gesture the ORTT may represent.
In addition to the contributions that Mr. Manning made towards the development of our nation, his work promoting greater regional relations and integration is well known and was paid tribute to such in the ongoing CARICOM Heads of Government Summit. The Secretary General of CARICOM, Mr. Irwin LaRocque even went as far as to describe Mr. Manning as “true champion” of the Caribbean Community, a sentiment echoed by other leaders that were present.
That all being said, there is in fact an award that CARICOM bestows upon nationals of their member states, “whose legacy in the economic, political, social and cultural metamorphoses of Caribbean society is phenomenal”. Based on the accounts of the leaders of these countries and our own Parliament, there is no doubt in my mind that the achievements of Mr. Patrick Manning surpasses that which is required for this prestigious honor and should at least be nominated for the Order of the Caribbean Community. Looking through the list of those whom the Order has been conferred upon, he may be the first person to be either nominated or possibly awarded posthumously, however, if anyone in the history of CARICOM was ever deserving of it, that person would be the late, great Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning, former Member of Parliament, Political Leader of the PNM, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and distinguished son of the soil, of both our nation and of the Caribbean.
He lost an election. I don’t think it is disgraceful or ungrateful that a party decided to try someone new after a loss at the polls. Nothing lasts forever.
What was the disgraceful was the behaviour of some party members at the GC when he was on his way out of Balisier house…so I’ve read but perhaps this is just a rumour and they did not behave in that manner…
Antoinette, they banged on his car and so on. I believe that behavior was before he resigned.