Thursday, July 14, 2016


Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Anand Ramlogan with members of the winning legal tea
The High Court in Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday ruled against Attorney General Faris Al Rawi in the challenge to the constitutionality of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Selection Process) Order 2015 brought by retired police inspector Mr. Harridath Maharaj, who was represented by the Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar S.C. and former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan S.C.

This was the first law passed by Al Rawi. The UNC Opposition had warned that the legislation was a dangerous development that would constitute a threat to democracy. Its argument was that the PNM government was creating a mechanism whereby it could exert political influence and pressure on the appointment of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police. The Opposition warned the Nation that the Government was passing an illegal law in violation of the Constitution and steadfastly opposed the Government.

The insertion of the Minister of National Security in the process was a flagrant and direct violation of the independence of the Police Service Commission (PSC) which was carefully preserved by Parliament. There was no lawful justification for this drastic step which would have compromised the transparency and fairness of the procedure for appointment and make the candidate selected open to criticism that the Government influenced the process of his appointment. AG Al Rawi was arrogant and bombastic in brushing aside the legitimate concerns of the Opposition. He said:

“We faced the polls. The management of crime and security starts with a permanent appointment for a Commissioner of Police and we have no horse in the race. We have no one in the race. What we have is democracy, preservation of autonomy for the Police Service Commission foremost in mind. We have emboldened and empowered them to do their job. We have told them, you come up with your process and terms, all we want is the opportunity to knock on your door and say, look can you start the process? Tell us whether you will or whether you would not and we will consider what we should do after that within the confines of due process, proportionality being the driving factor….. Enough is enough. No more analysis paralysis. There has been adequate and full and complete consultation in this process and it is proportional and democratic.”

(Hansard Report; Senate - January 21st 2016.)

The AG attempted to use the time taken by the PP government for careful and detailed consultation as an excuse to ride roughshod over the Constitution and intrude upon the constitutionally protected jurisdiction of the PSC.

Today the High Court has vindicated the UNC’s position on this matter.

The Court said:
“The 2015 Order purports to place initiation of the appointment process into the hands of the Minister of National Security, a Minister of Government and part of the Executive arm of the State. However, there is no role under the Constitution, even as amended in 2006, for the introduction of a member of the Executive arm of the state in the process of appointment of the Commissioner of Police or Deputy Commissioner of Police….The 2006 amendment to the Constitution at no point expressly authorised a role for a member of the Executive (Government) to trigger the process of appointment of a Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner. To the extent that the 2015 Order purports to introduce such a role, it must be considered ultra vires the Constitution. There is no reason in logic why an independent Police Service Commission cannot itself trigger the process for recruitment of a Commissioner of Police.”

The Court further held that the use of NIPDEC or a wholly-owned state company via the Central Tenders Board Act to select the recruitment firm that would interview and shortlist candidates was unconstitutional and illegal.

This amounted to “an impermissible trespass into the constitutionally vested powers of the Police Service Commission.”

The Court said it was wrong to constrain the PSC by providing for “the possibility of a wholly state-owned company being the gatekeeper of the pool of eligible candidates”.

By this convoluted process, the Government through the Minister of National Security could control and influence the entire process. The Minister of National Security became the “trigger-man” and a wholly-owned state company could be used to interview and shortlist candidates for the consideration of the PSC.

The Judge said “if some of the persons from whom it can select for appointment or nomination for appointment, are outside of its control, or even potentially outside of its control, or even knowledge”, that was an impermissible encroachment of the jurisdiction of the PSC. The Court has made powerful declarations to remove the political tentacles of the Government from the appointment process and ensure that there is transparency and integrity in the appointment of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Police.

This insidious attempt by the PNM government to derail and override the Constitution and tamper with the jurisdiction of the PSC represents a sinister and ominous desire to control the Police Service in the face of several landmark judgments from the Privy Council that expressly warn about the dangerous consequences of such action.

To allow any Government to control the appointment process by inserting the Minister of National Security and using a wholly state-owned enterprise to interview and shortlist candidates would be reckless and would undermine the constitutional protection given to the public and convert the Police Service of the State into a private political army which is beholden to the Government of the day.

The court ordered that the Attorney General pay the Applicant’s costs.
(Media release from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition)


Thursday, July 7, 2016


Celebrating with Rowley as Manning departs Balisier House on May 27, 2010
The People’s National Movement (PNM), which Patrick Manning led for 24 years, has been mourning the death of the former Prime Minister with many members and officials shedding crocodile tears.

The party’s propaganda machine is also spinning the yarn that current leader, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, had nothing to do with hounding Manning out of office. For the record, Rowley was very much part of an anti-Manning campaign from the time Manning fired him from cabinet in 2008.

In the House of Representatives Manning faced hostile opposition from Rowley, as the Hansard records show, stating that Manning ignored warnings of bid rigging and other forms of corruption in UDeCOTT. Rowley declared the PNM under Manning to be corrupt and pledged to break the mould and rebuild the party “of Eric Williams, Learie Constantine and Kamaluddin Mohammed.”

Manning had strong reservations about Rowley standing as a PNM candidate in 2010 but did not stand in the way as Rowley did in 2015 when Manning wanted to run again in San Fernando East, despite his failing health.

He paid a high price for that. During the 2010 election campaign Rowley openly denounced Manning as he fought for survival as a “sailor” on the PNM ship. At the same time he promised to move against Manning. “And there shall be time enough for court marshal when court marshal is due,” he told supporters at a meeting in his Diego Martin West constituency.

But the “unkindest cut” came at Balisier House three days after the general election, on May 27, 2010.

On election night Manning accepted full responsibility for the PNM’s defeat and announced his resignation. "May I also indicate that if it is the party’s wish I am prepared to stay on as political leader until a new political leader is elected at which time it would be my pleasure to gracefully demit office,” he stated in his resignation letter. He added, "I wish also to assure you…that I will give full support to the new political leader and would at no time operate in any manner the effect of which would be to bring the party into disrepute.”

That was gracious enough and in keeping with political conventions in most democracies. But it was not enough for the pro-Rowley mob that gathered at the party’s headquarters that evening.

It was their little political war and they wanted it to end decisively. So while some PNM officials and members are now saying that Rowley was not a part of the move to chase Manning out of Balsier House they are avoiding the fact that Rowley did nothing to prevent the hooligan-like behaviour when Mr. Manning left.

According to the Guardian’s Gail Alexander, “Manning also underwent trials by privileged elements…and his vehicle was spat upon by certain PNMites when he left Balisier House for the last time on May 27, 2010, with hordes of them jeering him.”

She was quoting members of the PNM who witnessed the humiliation of a man who had served the party as leader for more than two decades, and who governed the country as prime minister for a dozen years.

Rowley was in a celebratory mood as Manning left and the party handed him the interim leadership. "Today the General Council has taken the decision to advise the parliamentarians that I should occupy the position of Opposition Leader…I have accepted that arrangement and I would proceed to do that to the best of my ability," he told PNM members.

Rowley had finally got his victory in the defeat of his party. It could have been a lot more civilized. But the “enthusiasm” of Rowley’s supporters was too intense; they wanted to show Manning that they had won and that he was now a pariah. Rowley did not stop them.

Karen Nunez Tesheira, who served as Finance Minister in the last Manning administration, remembers the ugly scene. “The bitterness, vitriol and disrespect shown to him—no matter what he did, he didn’t deserve that and it was clearly orchestrated and wasn’t an impromptu situation,” she told the Trinidad Guardian.

Former PNM youth officer (female) Laurel Lezama also believes the PNM’s treatment of Manning was unfair. She told the Guardian, “the bad treatment of him by those misguided people whose actions were contrary wasn’t deserving. It was unfortunate and unnecessary.”

Lezama’s male counterpart, Dane Wilson, agrees that the General Council conducted its affairs with civility but that was only one part of the story that night.

“I saw a horrifying sight of some PNM people jeering him (Manning) and spitting after his exiting vehicle and a man with a microphone chasing him and jeering, saying things only an idiot would say,” Wilson told the Guardian. “Now I note the platitudes from people inside and outside the PNM who’re calling him ‘visionary;’ when they had nothing good to say before. It’s hypocritical…they should say nothing.”

Death allows people to pause and reflect, to remember the best of what the deceased offered. That’s what most people have been doing and will continue to do until Mr. Manning is interred.

Wilson is right. There is indeed much hypocrisy in the tears being shed but the greatest shades of hypocrisy are from those who dishonoured Mr. Manning in the most vile manner, and from those who said nothing to censure PNM members who hounded and chased the former PNM leader out of Balisier House.

Jai Parasram – Toronto | 07 July 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016


Kamla Persad-Bissessar signs the condolence book for Patrick Manning - 04 July 2016
Peaceful transition: Patrick Manning passes the leadership baton to Kamla Persad-Bissessar following the defeat of the PNM in the May 24, 2010 general election in which her PP coalition won 29 of the 41 seats in Parliament
Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday paid tribute to her predecessor, Patrick Manning, calling him a true patriot and a "worthy opponent."

Speaking in Parliament, Mrs Persad-Bissessar said, "We had different visions on how to take our country forward but the common thread was that we were both committed to Trinidad and Tobago; our respective visions were developed out of our love for country and our commitment to the enhancement of the life of the people."

She said Manning, who died on Saturday at age 69, was a simple man who achieved greatness "
through dedication, hard work and a deep commitment to his party and Trinidad and Tobago."

She added that even its darkest hour, Manning remained loyal and dedicated to his party. "Patrick Manning was not just a true patriot, he epitomized what a politician should be," she said. "He was one of the most dedicated members of the PNM and never lost hope or deserted even in the party’s darkest hours."

Mrs Persad-Bissessar's remarks are published below:

Madam Speaker, I rise to join the nation in mourning the death of Mr. Patrick Manning, who served in this honourable House for 44 unbroken years.

No one in our country has served the people that long … and that alone is testament to the former Prime Minister’s dedication to the people of San Fernando East and our great country.

Williams Shakespeare wrote: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

In Mr. Manning’s case only one applied to him; he was neither born great nor had greatness thrust upon him. He was born a simple, humble man who achieved greatness through dedication, hard work and a deep commitment to his party and Trinidad and Tobago.

Greatness, Madam Speaker, was what he achieved on his own.

He was one of three PNM members who survived the political tsunami of 1986 but he faced the challenges ahead with the strength of a true leader. Many people facing those circumstances would have given up and walked away. Mr. Manning did neither. His party needed leadership and that is what he provided. He rebuilt his battered party and triumphantly led the PNM back to office in 1991.

It took courage and a clear vision to achieve such a feat. And when circumstances sent him back to opposition, he remained steadfast in his determination to guide his party along a path that he defined. And that resilience is what caused him to return to government with clear mandates in 2002 and again in 2007.

Mr. Manning was a worthy opponent.

We stood on different sides in the political battlefield and crossed swords on many issues. We had different visions on how to take our country forward but the common thread was that we were both committed to Trinidad and Tobago; our respective visions were developed out of our love for country and our commitment to the enhancement of the life of the people.

That, Madam Speaker, is what leadership is about. And that is what defined the life of Patrick Manning.

He was a new kid on the block when he entered Parliament in 1971 as the member for San Fernando East, the successor to Mr. Gerard Montano. From that beginning Mr. Manning rose to become a respected leader at home, in the Caribbean region and internationally not because greatness was thrust on him but because he was determined to learn and follow before leading.

He learned well from his leader, Dr. Eric Williams, and his other political contemporaries and mentors. Perhaps the most important lessons were about loyalty and commitment.

Mr. Manning faced many setbacks in his career. He had to wait ten years before getting a full ministerial position but he never lost patience or turned against his party. He used the time to learn; and he learned well, Madam Speaker.

Patrick Manning was not just a true patriot, he epitomized what a politician should be. He was one of the most dedicated members of the PNM and never lost hope or deserted even in the party’s darkest hours. He sincerely believed in the greatness of his party and its motto that it would always prevail; no PNM leader fought as hard he did to make that happen.

And he took responsibility for his actions. When the party faced humiliation on May 24, 2010, Mr. Manning took full responsibility. And though he was literally chased out of the leadership by members of his own party, his loyalty never waned.

That is a striking characteristic of an outstanding leader; that is who was Mr. Manning.

Even though his health was failing he was prepared to return to Parliament in 2015 to serve his constituents and Trinidad and Tobago. That was not to be.

The party sent very clear signals that it was time for him to leave the stage. Most people would have been bitter and resentful. Not Patrick Manning. He put aside his differences and the humiliation of rejection and supported his party.

Mr. Manning sat in opposition more than once, but his focus never shifted; his commitment remained unshaken and he achieved what no other leader of our country ever did.

Trinidad and Tobago will remember him as the only leader who has been in an out of office twice. In 1995 he could have returned to government in a coalition but he maintained the PNM’s independence and preferred to walk away from the prime minister’s office, knowing that keeping focus would take him back to government. And it did.

Patrick Manning served his people with integrity and loyalty. He worked with a range of other people to achieve the greatest good for the general population, often with people who held conflicting political views.

His strength of character defined him, as did his deep sense of humour, his laughter and his infectious charisma. Even his harshest critics agree that Mr. Manning was an outstanding and charming gentleman. He was never afraid to stand up and say what he felt was needed to be said, even though at times it may have seemed to be politically incorrect.

And while many of us would continue to challenge some of the decisions he made, at least he had a vision that charted the course for the decision he made. And I have no doubt that in all sincerity he believed that whatever actions he took were in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Manning inspired many young people to work hard and to stay focused in order to achieve success.

His wife, Hazel, said what made her husband a special politician was his love and charisma, and his commitment to our youth.

Mr. Manning demonstrated that commitment with the establishment of GATE, building on what a previous UNC government started with its dollar for dollar program. It didn’t matter where the idea originated; what mattered was that it was good and he improved it so future generations would benefit from education.

I endorse the sentiment of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley who said Mr. Manning "made development and the well being of Trinidad and Tobago a priority and in doing so dedicated his life to serving our twin island state."

We have lost a role model, a brother, a father and friend. Today the nation is in grief for the loss of a true patriot and leader.

The loss we have suffered would be felt for many months and years to come.

Today we mourn his passing but we also celebrate his life as a courageous leader who put country first.

Patrick Manning will remain immortal because people die only when we forget them. Who in all honesty can forget Patrick Manning, who guided his party and this nation through some the most difficult times?

There comes a time for all us when the body dies, but the soul lives on. In the words of the poet John Donne –

“One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more…”

Patrick Manning’s voice will no longer be heard in this august chamber but he will continue to live and to occupy our thoughts. Let us remember the happy times, the laughter and everything that made Patrick Manning so special to us.

Madam Speaker I close with the words from 2 Corinthians 5:6-8:

“We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Let us pray that while our brother is gone to be with our Father, he will continue to remain with us, to continue to watch over us, even as his soul finds eternal rest.

I thank you.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Patrick Manning - 17 August 1946 - 02 July 2016
Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning died on Saturday with his wife, Hazel, and immediate family at his side. Manning was 69. 
He was admitted to the San Fernando General Hospital earlier in the week where he was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia.

Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who fought many political battles with and against Mr. Manning, paid tribute to his former leader, calling him “a visionary, a patriot and a Caribbean man who always strived for excellence."

He added that Manning "made development and the well being of Trinidad and Tobago a priority and in doing so dedicated his life to serving our twin island state."

He said up until his death Manning was a "source and inspiration to a generation of national and regional leaders who still sought his counsel even after he left public life."

The People’s National Movement (PNM), which Manning led for 24 years, issued a brief statement describing Manning as a leader with great vision. The PNM said his passing was a loss to the Nation and to his party.

His wife, Hazel, said her husband was full of love and charisma. “He was impressed with young, bright people (and) that made him a special politician,” she said.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who defeated Manning in the 2010 general election to become T&T’s first female prime minister, was the first to pay tribute to her political rival.

“The grief we share at his passing is, without doubt, grief that will be shared by our fellow nations in the region,” she said in a media release.

Regional leaders also sent messages of condolences. The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, tweeted this message: “My sincere condolences to the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the passing of their former PM Patrick Manning.”

And Dominica PM Roosevelt Skerrit said, “Patrick Manning was a sincere advocate for regional integration. As a young man I was very fortunate to have worked with him. Rest in peace.”

Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning was born on August 17, 1946 in San Fernando. He received his secondary education at Presentation College and later went to the University of the West Indies, Jamaica where he graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Geology. His first professional job on his return home in 1969 was at Texaco, the major oil company in the country at the time.

In 1971, following the Black Power unrest, Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams dispensed with the Gerard Montano, a white national who served in government and the constituency of San Fernando East. Williams handed the seat to Manning.

Manning entered parliament in 1971, winning the seat on May 24, by default because there was no other candidate due to a no-vote campaign by the opposition parties. Interestingly his final electoral victory was also on May 24 thirty-nine years later.

Between 1971 and 1978 he served as Parliamentary Secretary in various ministries before getting his first junior ministerial position in the finance ministry. In 1981 he received his first full Cabinet position as Minister of Information and Minister of Industry and Commerce. Between 1981 and 1986 he served as Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Manning gave the constituency unbroken service until the end of the tenth Parliament in 2015. He was the longest serving parliamentarian in the country.

In 1986 Mr. Manning found himself as one of only three PNM MPs following the historic election of that year that swept the PNM out of office in a landslide 33-3 victory for the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR).

Manning took charge of the party, rebuilt it from the ashes and won the general election in 1991. But internal bickering led to an early election in 1995, in which he lost the government to the United National Congress (UNC) by following his principle to “win alone and lose alone”.

His party was defeated in the 2000 general election but the UNC government fell within a year due to the defection of three of its MPs and in the election that followed in 2001 the two parties won 18 seats each. Manning and the prime minister at the time, Basdeo Panday, made futile attempts at negotiating a power sharing agreement and the president ended the impasse by appointing Manning Prime Minister on Christmas Eve 2001.

Less than a year later, after governing without a parliament for nine months, Manning called another election and won a clear majority; he repeated the success in the 2007 general election with a stronger majority. But he was developing a strong-arm style of governance that offended many people, even in his own party.

A public row with the current Prime Minister, Keith Rowley, was a significant chink in his political armour. That and allegations of serious corruption led to his unpopularity and loss of support from many of his strong allies.. At the same time the opposition UNC was going through a political renaissance, which led to the election of Kamla Persad-Bissessar as the party leader and leader of the opposition.

She challenged Manning’s leadership with a vote of confidence and in the midst of rumours of a palace coup Manning took a gamble. He asked the president to dissolve parliament and set May 24, 2010 as the general election date, two years ahead of schedule.

The electorate punished Manning and the PNM and handed victory to a new alliance led by Mrs. Persad-Bissessar, which won 29 of the 41 seats in the House of Representatives. Manning took responsibility for the humiliating defeat and announced that he would resign as party leader. Rowley led an angry PNM lobby that immediately ousted Manning. Rowley later became leader without an election since no one challenged him for the leadership..

In January 2012 Manning suffered a debilitating stroke and was initially treated at the San Fernando General Hospital. He was later transferred by air ambulance to the Walter Reed Medical Centre in the United States – at the state’s expense – for additional treatment and therapy.

Manning never fully recovered but in the 2015 general election he offered to serve again as the representative for San Fernando East, a move that the party resisted. At the last moment he declined although it was clear that Rowley did not wish to have his former political rival as an MP for the PNM.

Manning was taken by ambulance to hospital on June 27. His wife later announced that he had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), an aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. 

Hazel and Patrick Manning

Hazel Manning said on Saturday her husband began having breathing problems at three in the morning and he asked doctors to do whatever was necessary. They sedated him to help his breathing; by six doctors attached a machine to help him breathe and by 8:15 he died peacefully with his family at his side.

Manning is survived by his wife, Hazel, and their sons, Brian and David.

Trinidad and Tobago’s national flag is now flying at half-mast to mourn the passing of the former prime minister and will fly that way until the state funeral on Saturday July 09, 2016 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain. 

Holy Trinity Cathedral
The public will be able to pay respects and view the body on Thursday July 07 at SAPA in San Fernando and on Friday at NAPA in Port of Spain.

Jai Parasram - Toronto | 02 July 2016


Patrick Manning - 17 August 1946 - 02 July 2016
It is a deep sadness that I report the death of former T&T Prime Minister Patrick Manning. We shared a friendship that lasted decades although we didn't always agree on political issues. I extend deepest condolence to his wife, Hazel, whom I have known personally for decades, his sons and other family members. Whatever his shortcomings, Mr Manning was a true patriot who served T&T well.

He was the longest serving parliamentarian in Trinidad and Tobago and held the office of prime minister from 1991 to 1995 and again from 2001 to 2010.

May his soul find eternal peace.

Jai Parasram  

From Mr. Manning's FB timeline today, 02 July 2016:

At 8:15AM today, Former Prime Minister Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning passed away peacefully at the San Fernando General Hospital after battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Former Prime Minister Manning was surrounded by his family and loved ones.

The Manning family would like to thank everyone for their prayers, love and support during this trying time. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.
See biography of prime minister Patrick Manning


2010: Manning and Rowley hold hands to symbolically end their hostility
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Saturday that Patrick Manning would get a state funeral. Manning died Saturday morning at the San Fernando general Hospital.

In making the announcement Rowley also said flags would fly at half mast until the funeral.

Rowley described the former Prime Minister as "a visionary, a patriot and a Caribbean man who always strived for excellence." 

He added that Manning "made development and the well being of Trinidad and Tobago a priority and in doing so dedicated his life to serving our twin island state." 

He said up until his death Manning was a "source and inspiration to a generation of national and regional leaders who still sought his counsel even after he left public life."
Rowley media release. Click on it to read it in a new, larger window.


The People's National Movement (PNM) has extended condolences to the wife and children of former party leader and prime minister Patrick Manning, who died Saturday morning at the San Fernando General Hospital.

In a release on social media, Public Relations Officer (PRO) Stuart Young said: "It was with a great sense of sadness that the PNM Family had been informed of Manning's death...

"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." 

From Faris Al Rawi:

This morning we lost a true role model, brother, father and friend. May we be comforted in this time, knowing that he was surrounded by his family. May our thoughts and prayers be with Mrs. Manning, Brian and David.

May he Rest in Peace.

From Orville London:

Patrick Manning will be remembered as a man of courage, intellect, and a man with a vision for T&T.

From Rodney Charles, MP - Naparima:

On behalf of MP Rodney Charles, The Naparima Executive, Women's Arm, Youth Arm and all Constituents of Naparima, We extend our sincerest Condolences to the Family of Former Prime Minister of T&T - Mr Patrick Manning on his passing. May his soul rest in peace.

From Jamaican PM Andrew Holness:

My sincere condolences to the people of Trinidad and Tobago on the passing of their former PM Patrick Manning. 

From Dominica PM Roosevelt Skirrit:

Patrick Manning was a sincere advocate for regional integration. As a young man I was very fortunate to have worked with him. Rest in peace. 

The following is from the Trinidad Guardian:

Manning's body was transported from the back entrance of the San Fernando General Hospital at 10.15 am and taken to Belgrove's Funeral Home on Coffee Street.

Deputy political leader, Joan Yuille -Williams, who was among those gathered at the hospital this morning, said the country and party had lost a father and a visionary.

San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchell was one of several MPs to post tributes on social media, following the death of former prime minister and political leader of the People’s National Movement, Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning.

Manning was the MP for the San Fernando East constituency since 1971, and won the seat in 10 general elections, until Mitchell succeeded him in 2015.
On his page this morning, Mitchell said the country should be comforted in this time of solace, knowing that Manning was surrounded by his family and loved ones.

“Mr. Manning served the people of San Fernando East with great distinction for 45 years, and an honour befitting his life of great vision, aspirations and achievements that have propelled Trinidad and Tobago forward will be forthcoming,” Mitchell said.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also shared condolences on social media, noting Manning’s passing with “deep sadness.”

“On behalf all in the Parliamentary Opposition and the United National Congress, we send our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to his wife, Hazel, and his sons and close relatives.

“Mr Manning was Prime Minister by electoral victory three times in our history—1995, 2002 and 2007. He is also our longest serving Parliamentarian and one of the longest serving public servants in the region.”

She said the grief shared at his passing was, without doubt, grief that will be shared by fellow nations in the region.
“We wish the Mannings God's guidance and support and pray that the former Prime Minister will find a place of joy and rest,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe described Manning as a political paragon.
“Mr. Manning's mortal body is survived by his immortal legacy. Thank you Jehovah for gifting this country through the life and works of Mr. Patrick Mervyn Augustus Manning.”

Mr. Manning is survived by his wife Mrs. Hazel Manning and they have two sons, Brian and David.


The Ministry of National Security has announced that the T&T National Flag will be flown at half mast "in observance of the passing of former Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning."

Mr Manning died at 8:15 this morning, July 02, 2016, at the San Fernando General Hospital.

In a media release the Ministry advised all state and non-state agencies and all Trinidad and Tobago diplomatic missions abroad to fly the flag at half-mast.

The ministry stated that other flags "on the same stand of poles should also be at half-mast or should not be flown at all when the National Flag is at half-mast.
Flags of foreign nations should not be flown at half mast, unless their country is also observing mourning."


3rd & 4th Floors, 11 Charles Street, Port of Spain
Telephone: 1 868 623 8662, Fax: 1 868 627 9929

To:                  All Editors
From:             The Office of Leader of the Opposition
Date:              02nd July 2016
Patrick Manning with Kamla Persad-Bissessar in 2010


It is with deep sadness that we heard of the passing of former Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

On behalf all in the Parliamentary Opposition and the United National Congress, we send our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to his wife, Hazel, and his sons and close relatives.

Mr Manning was Prime Minister by electoral victory three times in our history - 1991, 2002 and 2007. He is also our longest serving Parliamentarian and one of the longest serving Public Servants in the region.

Indeed, his wife Hazel has always exemplified strength and fortitude in her family, something which was clear throughout their public life.

The grief we share at his passing is, without doubt, grief that will be shared by our fellow nations in the region.

We wish the Mannings God's guidance and support and pray that the former Prime Minister will find a place of joy and rest

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP

Leader of the Opposition

02nd July  2016 

Friday, July 1, 2016


Malcolm Jones
There is something unusual about the sudden news of the departure of Malcolm Jones from the government’s Standing Committee on Energy. Unusual because while Jones and the government acknowledged the resignation, no one seemed to know when it happened when questioned by the Express newspaper.

Energy Minister Nicole Olivierre said it was “months ago”; Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley declared it was “many moons ago” and Jones himself was unable to name a date but confirmed it was “weeks ago”. A day later it seems the amnesia was cured and Dr. Rowley declared that it was 23 March 2016 and confirmed by cabinet in April. It’s amazing how the man who wrote the resignation letter didn’t know the date; he wasn’t even close.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this news is that Jones’s name featured prominently in last week’s no confidence motion in AG Faris Al Rawi and nobody mentioned a word about Jones quitting the energy post although according to their statement on Thursday it happened since March.

PM Keith Rowley
Why the secrecy about such a matter?

Apart from the resignation date there seems to be some confusion about WHY Jones resigned. Jones said he quit because he found himself “unjustly tried”. Rowley and his energy minister told another story; Jones was only appointed for a short time.

This is what Rowley told the Express: "We needed him to help us understand a few things in the industry and now that that is done, he resigned." Perhaps he should have told Jones.

So what exactly were those “few things” that Jones had to help the government “understand”? And when did he deliver them?

Could one of them be to advise on a new deal on the Gas to Liquids plant at Petrotrin? It was Jones who was the mastermind behind that failed multi-billion project that he started under the Manning PNM administration. So did Rowley think it was best to bring him to continue what he started?

The opposition quite rightly wanted to know the justification for appointing Jones to advise on energy matters when he was the man who presided over one of the biggest scandals in the energy sector and was facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit for a breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the billion-dollar gas-to-liquid plant (GTL) project.

Rowley appointed Jones knowing that Jones was facing that lawsuit. And to compound the contempt for the people Attorney General Faris Al Rawi dropped the lawsuit against Jones, claiming that the legal advice he received showed that the case against Jones was too weak to get a conviction. And the State must now pay Jones $2 million in damages.

And while the opposition was going after Rowley and Al Rawi on the Malcolm Jones matter, the government quietly entered into an agreement to sell the abandoned GTL plant to a company called NiQuan, which like World GTL, has no experience in the business and even worse, has no money or solid guarantees that it could raise the money.

That added another dimension to the already confusing story of how Malcolm Jones could be in hibernation for five years and suddenly return as an energy expert advising the government. Or as the PM put it, making the government understand “a few things”.

But consider one really important disclosure from Rowley, who admitted that GTL was “one project that went horribly bad”. He said Wendell Mottley is taking over from Jones. 
Wendell Mottley
Mottley is the man who arranged the international financing from Credit Suisse for the GTL plant and now, it seems that he can be of service again in that regard to help out NiQuan and those locals closely connected to it.

The lingering question is whether Jones’s role was to ensure the sale of the GTL plant to NiQuan. In November 2015 – just weeks after Jones was appointed to the energy committee – Petrotrin chairman Andrew Jupiter sought and received approval from Finance Minister Colm Imbert to sell to Niquan. And the public doesn’t know if Imbert made that decision unilaterally or whether it went to cabinet, as it should.

Now that the deal is done and the “few things” taken care of, is Rowley bringing in Mottley to take care of another “few things” before dumping him too?

So while Jones may have chosen the wrong word to explain his departure the reality is he was in the public eye. And that pressure from the opposition in particular became too much for him to bear.

But that’s his story, not Rowley’s. Rowley told reporters it was never his plan to keep Jones for the long haul… just for “a few thing”. So we can only guess about those “few things” because the Rowley government loves secrets.

The Jones explanation sounds more credible than the PM’s. Many people who have to walk in Jones's shoes would have felt the pressure and quit. The amazing thing is this: how is it that he didn’t remember that those pressures caused him to resign way back on March 23rd? And Rowley didn’t remember as well – that is until Thursday when it all came back to him. Something is fishy about it.

Commenting on Jones's resignation, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said it is “only the start." She told local media, "With a track record of a loss to Petrotrin and the people of T&T over $3 billion in just one project, the Prime Minister made him an integral part of a number of decisions taken on the future of energy…the nation demands answers and the Prime Minister must start talking!"

Good luck with that. But if Rowley does start telling the country what’s really going on he should also say whether Jones is really gone or whether he has just become invisible to avoid the media and opposition glare. He should also clarify the roles of people like Ken Julien, Petrotrin chairman Andrew Jupiter, National Gas Company chairman Gerry Brooks and John Andrews. 

Jai Parasram | Toronto - 01 July 2016
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Jai & Sero

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Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai