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Diego West support for Manning

Sunday, August 24 2014

The Diego Martin West constituency branch of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) Women’s League supports the decision of former prime minister Patrick Manning to reject the recommendation of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that he receive the nation’s highest award, the Order of TT, at next week’s National Awards Ceremony at Queen’s Hall in Port-of- Spain.

Opposition Leader Keith Rowley is the Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West.

In a release in which the group described Manning’s refusal of the honour as a “show of true leadership,” constituency’s chairperson Susan Wong said it also showed the former prime minister, who was soundly defeated by Persad-Bissessar in the 2010 general election, was not interested in “self-gain.”

“We thank former Prime Minister Patrick Manning for resisting the lure of new politics — that is, the eat-a-food politics of the current regime,” Wong said. “We are heartened by his show of true leadership in rejecting the current prime minister’s game-playing with the nation’s highest award.

“He has renewed our confidence in the objectivity of right-thinking citizens who fearlessly admit that Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s People Partnership Government treats no office or institution as sacrosanct.”

Persad-Bissessar gave notice of her recommendation that Manning receive the nation’s highest award in an address during a cocktail reception she hosted at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Thursday night. She has also recommended that another former prime minister, Basdeo Panday, also be given the Order of TT.

The San Fernando East MP, who is the country’s longest-serving parliamentarian, has since rejected the offer on “my principled stance not to accept any Trinidad and Tobago awards while serving as an MP.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Manning took issue with the fact that he was “made aware of this nomination through persons who saw it reported on the social media, Facebook.”

The former PM also described as a “gross discourtesy,” the fact that he was neither consulted, nor advised prior to the announcement. It is unclear whether Panday, who is currently overseas in Singapore, will accept the gesture. Up to news time last evening there was no posting about the issue on his Facebook page.

Wong said yesterday in the statement that Manning’s decision to reject the gesture showed that he was not interested in self-gain.

“You have proven to be a political and intellectual superior to Mrs Persad-Bissessar. And while Mrs Persad-Bissessar sought to use this carrot which our rank and file are against to exploit any post-2010 fallout, you have proven that true red PNM blood runs through your heart,” she said.

Wong said if the prime minister were genuine, she would have first consulted him on the issue in person.

“In typical style, however, she offered it in public,” she said.

Describing Persad-Bissessar’s gesture as an “infantile game passing as political genius,” Wong said the gesture was made to either shame Manning into acceptance or to denounce him as being politically backward for refusing it. The National Awards Ceremony takes place on Sunday at Queen’s Hall in Port-of-Spain.

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