Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Commentary: Manning should be the last person to talk about corruption and nepotism

File: Patrick Manning during the 2010 general election campaign
Patrick Manning doesn't have a voice in Parliament these days because he remains on medical leave following his stroke 18 months ago. 

However, he is using his online space on Facebook - or someone is doing it for him - to malign the present government. 

posting on his Facebook page states: "This Government has failed in every area of National life! The gigantic scale of their very bold corruption, nepotism and cronyism is very damaging to this country’s future prospects. God help us to reverse this!"

Patrick Manning should be the last person to critcise the People's Partnership government, especially with labels of corruption and nepotism.

Kamla has not appointed her husband or any family member as a cabinet minister but Manning appointed his wife, Hazel, to the cabinet on three occasions and no one ever elected her. So who's guilty of nepotism?

And Manning should go back to his own abbreviated term in office that ended in 2010. A national poll done by Prof. Selwyn Ryan stated:

  1. 70 per cent of respondents said the Manning PNM government was corrupt
  2. 72 per cent of respondents said the Manning PNM government squandered taxpayers' money
  3. ONLY 16 per cent of respondents said Manning was fit to govern
When put to the test, the people confirmed that Manning was not fit to lead and his government fell under the weight of his own corruption. His own party campaigned against them. Keith Rowley called his government the most corrupt ever.

Rowley is no standard for decency and morality but he was producing the evidence when he criticised Manning and the administration he led. 

Of course Rowley was only squealing after Manning kicked him out of government in 2008. But the corruption and bid rigging he revealed in Parliament was happening since 2003. SO Rowley was content to be a part of the corruption so long as he belonged to the club. Once tossed out he undressed Manning.

For the past three years the PNM has been on the same mantra - corruption, nepotism, cronyism. And where is the evidence?

It's a common PNM tactic - keep saying something over and over again and it becomes true. So Manning and others keep up this story and try to get the national community to latch on. And many people have started saying the same thing.

However, when you challenge people - including the PNM - to show the evidence they have none.

Manning made mistake after mistake and boasted about it. He defended Calder Hart all the way when it was clear that Hart was no saint. He denied having any connection to the church at Guanapo although it turned out that he was deeply involved. Manning sprung his driver from the lockup at the Marabella police station and boasted he did nothing wrong and would do it again.

We have short memories in Trinidad and Tobago.

To talk about Manning's corruption and misdeeds would take an eternity. Who was the man flying all over the place in a private jet? Who was the leader who was going to buy a private jet?

Manning also tried hard to change the constitution and make himself executive president without having to get the endorsement of the people in an election. His own people called him a budding dictator.

Manning was driving Trinidad and Tobago to become a failed state. And he has the audacity to criticise the present regime that rescued the country from the PNM blight?

If Manning and his people were so good why did he throw away his government when he had a majority of 26 seats when no election was due for another two years? It's because he thought the people would forgive him and give him a new mandate. But people had had enough of the PNM corruption and mismanagement; more than 430-thousand people voted for the People's partnership and left only 12 PNM MP in Parliament.

This is what columnist Michael Harris wrote in the Express on June 10, 2013:
"By the time the PNM had crashed to defeat in 2010 it had become little more than an empty shell, a basket kept afloat by the unbridled ego of one man and the nostalgic but illusory memories of a past golden age. It was abundantly clear for anyone with eyes to see that for the PNM to survive and become a credible alternative once again it needed to undergo a root and branch reconstruction."

Harris concluded that the transformation never took place and that in three years the Rowley PNM has not presented one single idea to make Trinidad and Tobago a better place.

"Consider that in the three years it has been in opposition the PNM has not made a single statement about what policy it would pursue in any area of government and administration; consider that the leadership of the PNM today is the same set of spineless people who supported Mr Manning as he led them down the garden path; consider that in the three years it has been in opposition it has not been able to show a single new recruit of substance to its ranks and you would realise that the prospect of putting that party in office once again is a hideous nightmare."

The People's Partnership has been trying to clean up the mess it inherited from Manning and the PNM. And yes, it has made mistakes along the way. Who wouldn't stumble while trying to fix such monumental errors?

But Kamla and her team have shown that they can admit making mistakes and they have also shown that they can correct mistakes. Kamla also knows how to act decisively and surgically when necessary.

Manning is still trying to upstage Rowley to get even. So we can expect more from Manning. We'll hear more from the PNM and its allies about corruption  because empty barrels make the most noise.

But Kamla should not be perturbed about this. All she needs to do is stay on focus and serve the people as she has been doing. In the end the people matter because as she herself has said, THE PEOPLE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.

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