Saturday, April 13, 2013

Manning comes to town to buy a shirt

Patrick Manning did a surprise walkabout in Port of Spain Wednesday - the day after
there were rumours that he had died. "I am still standing," he told reporters.
Read the story in the Trinidad Express: 'Dead Man' Walking
Manning gets his shirt - Newsday photo (Read the story - Patrick is that you?)
Keith Rowley must be getting very worried. And it has nothing to do with Kamla or the government. It's about a man in a red hat who did a political walkabout in Port of Spain Wednesday to show that he is "alive and well".

It's interesting that the well choreographed visit to the city to "buy a shirt" came the day after someone called up TV6 and announced that former PM Patrick Manning had died. It turns out that was more than a little bit of mischief and for a while Manning owned the media spotlight to assure the nation that he was alive and well.

The next day he was telling folks in Port of Spain that he is "still standing" as he and a couple of his former cabinet ministers made an appearance in Port of Spain where fans greeted him. Could it be all coincidence? Perhaps. But in politics things are not always as they seem.

Manning has never forgiven Keith Rowley for helping cause his fall although it is common knowledge that Manning himself is responsible for his political defeat and did not need anyone to push him over the edge. 

The Manning-Rowley fight goes back a long time but it was in 2010 that the "wajang" got his revenge. Once the election result was announced, Rowley and his troops moved in and expelled Manning from the leadership of the PNM and literally chased the former PM out of Balisier House.

So is Manning once again testing the waters for a possible comeback? He says no. But he is a politician. If the conditions are right he could challenge Rowley for the leadership in 2014. 

However, Manning's own track record and his failing health would be impediments. But who says he can't be the hand in the glove for a handpicked member of the PNM who now sits in Parliament? How does the name Amery Browne sound?

The other reason for Rowley to be uncomfortable is that the movers and shakers inside the PNM are not happy with him. They don't like his obstructionist politics and they were not amused with him sharing a platform with Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

Some people are saying it's time for a leadership review. And that's why Rowley must be a worried man.

Right now things are not going well. He had hoped that the state would lose the Section 34 case and that he and the PNM would deal the government a knockout punch; it didn't happen. 

Now he has to come up with a winning strategy for the local election and also prepare to defend his leadership in 2014 under changed rules within the party. For the first time, the PNM would choose its leader through a one-member, one-vote election.

With the divisions in the PNM with a Manning team and a Rowley team the internal politics could get very interesting. Will the Rowley forces come together and rally behind their leader? Or will one of his own challenge him? The inside talk is some PNM jefes want to see Rowley's back and they think a woman vs woman fight in 2015 might be a good idea. 

And the real million dollar question is this: Will Manning himself take on Rowley or would he have his hand-picked nominee? Perhaps another Manning?

One thing you can say about T&T politics is that it never gets boring.

Jai Parasram

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai