Patrick Manning

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Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning (born August 17, 1946) is the current Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Trinidad and Tobago and Political Leader of the People's National Movement (PNM). He served as Prime Minister between 17 December 1991 to 9 November 1995 and since 24 December 2001, as Leader of the Opposition from 1986 to 1990 and from 1995 to 2001. He has been the Political Leader of the PNM since 1987. A geologist by training, Manning has served as Member of Parliament for the San Fernando East constituency since 1971 and is currently the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives.

Manning received his secondary education at Presentation College, San Fernando and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica in 1969. After graduation he returned to Trinidad where he worked as a geologist for Texaco. He entered Parliament in 1971 representing the San Fernando East constituency.

Contents

1 References
2 See also

Early career

After graduating form the University of the West Indies, Manning worked as a geologist with Texaco Trinidad Ltd., until he ran for Parliament in 1971. Between 1971 and 1978 he served as Parliamentary Secretary in various Ministries before being appointed junior Minister in the Ministry of Finance. In 1979 he was given the additional position of junior Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister. In 1981 he was given a full Cabinet postition of Minister of Information and Minister of Industry and Commerce. Between 1981 and 1986 he served as Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

The 1986 General Elections the ruling PNM suffered an almost total defeat. Only three candidates won their seats; the Prime Minister, George Chambers was among the losing candidates. As one of the three successful PNM candidates, Manning was appointed Leader of the Opposition. In 1987 he was elected Political Leader of the PNM. A split in the ruling National Alliance for Reconstruction in 1988 left the PNM as the minority Opposition party, and in 1990 Basdeo Panday requested that he be appointed Leader of the Opposition.

First term as Prime Minister

Manning led the PNM to win the 1991 General Elections, and he served as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1995. His first administration was plagued by accusations of corruption by the Opposition. Crime rates increased dramatically. Accusations of links to the drug trade were made when it became known that drug lord Dole Chadee had purchased a car formerly owned by Manning. (It was later revealed that Manning had sold the car to Sankie Subance, a San Fernandian businessman, who had sold the car to Chadee).

The first Manning administration continued the economic liberalisation and Structural Adjustment programmes of the previous NAR government, despite the fact that they had been highly critical of these programmes. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar was shifted from a fixed-rate of exchange to a floating rate of exchange. Many state-owned enterprised were divested to foreign-owned corporations, a move which the NAR criticised on the grounds that NAR divestment had left these companies in the hands of Trinidad and Tobago nationals.

In April, 1995 Manning dismissed Alexander Lau, honorary consul (an unpaid positio) to Hong Kong for failing to be present in Hong Kong when Manning visited the colony. This was despite the fact that Lau had informed Foreign Affairs Minister Ralph Maraj that he would not be present in Hong Kong on the dates that Manning had planned to visit. Lau was fired by fax. On May 7, 1995 Manning delivered a television broadcast in which he declared himself "Father of the Nation" and that he must therefore speak "in a certain way". He then proceded to demote Ralph Maraj from Minister of Foreign Affairs to Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister. Maraj was replaced with Permanent Secretary Knowlson Gift, who resigned on May 17 in the face of questions regarding the sale of vehicles at the end of Gift's tenure as High Commissioner to Jamaica in 1987.

Starting off with a three-seat majority, Manning saw this reduced to a single seat as the Pointe--Pierre seat was lost to the United National Congress in a bye-election and the San Fernando West seat was lost when Ralph Maraj defected to the Opposition. Following the removal of Occah Seapaul as Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker, Rupert Griffith, MP for Arima assumed the Speaker's chair. This left the PNM with an almost unworkable majority of one seat (since the Speaker by convention does not usually vote).

Second term as Prime Minister

In 1995 Manning called a General Election one full year before it was Constitutionally due. The PNM was defeated in this election, and Basdeo Panday became Prime Minister. Manning served as Leader of the Opposition once again, also losing the 2000 elections. The 2001 elections ended in a tie, with both the Opposition PNM and the governing United National Congress winning 18 seats. Breaking with Parliamentary procedure, President Arthur N.R. Robinson appointed Manning Prime Minister. Unable to elect a Speaker of the House of Representatives, Manning proceded to rule without Parliament until the need to pass a Budget forced him to call elections in October 2002. His party won this elections and formed the new government.

His administration has been plagued with a sharp increase in violent crime, controversy regardling appointments and the issue of broadcast licenses, and allegations of incompetence, corruption and nepotism. Five senior PNM officials are currently under investigation by the Integrity Commission. Manning appointed his wife, Hazel Manning, a Senator and Minister of Education. In a 2004 letter Dansam Dhansook a PNM councillor on the Rio Claro-Mayaro Regional Corporation alleged that he had paid bribes to two on Mannings Cabinet ministers, Franklin Khan, Minster of Works and MP for Mayaro and Eric A. Williams, Minister of Energy and MP for Port-of-Spain South. The letter was made public by Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar (UNC) in April, 2005. Dhansook later called a press conference allegedly to recant the allegations, but he failed to show up and later stated to the Trinidad Express newspaper the document in which he had recanted the bribery allegations. Khan resigned to his Cabinet position but denied culpability. Manning was criticised for failing to act on Dhansook's allegations, despite having received the letter more than a year before Persad-Bissessar made the public aware of it. In addition, allegations that Minister of Housing, Diego Martin West MP Keith Rowley received kickbacks from work on the Scarborough Hospital are under investigation by the Integrity Commission. On June 10, 2005 Persad-Bissessar also alleged that three government Ministers were under investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA}.

There has been a sharp increases in violent crime, especially murders and kidnappings for ransom. The crime situation is widely seen as being out of control. The perception that kidnapping specifically targets Indo-Trinidadians has continued to draw severe criticism from political opponents (since the PNM's supporters are mainly Afro-Trinidadians while the Opposition UNC draws most of its support from Indo-Trinidadians. Manning is on the record as saying that he does not see the kidnapping situation as a major problem. His National Security Minister, Martin Joseph has also said that crime is not a serious problem in Trinidad and Tobago.

His administration has also benefitted from increased revenue brought in by oil and natural gas.

References

  • Meighoo, Kirk. 2003. Politics in a Half Made Society: Trinidad and Tobago, 1925-2002 ISBN 1558763066

See also


Preceded by:
A.N.R. Robinson
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
19911995
Succeeded by:
Basdeo Panday
Preceded by:
Basdeo Panday
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
2001–present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End boxgl:Patrick Manning

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