Patrick Manning : Determined, Complex Leader
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Group
The passing of former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,
Mr. Patrick Manning, means that the region has
lost one of its most determined and complex leaders. Manning was perhaps
the most forward thinking of the crop of leaders, during his time as Prime
Minister. He had a very clear vision of regional integration and never faltered
in his quest to make some form of regional unity work.
Within the personality of what we affectionately call “De Trini”, Manning’s political persona was very deceptive because he was seen as a less charismatic figure than others such as former Prime Minister, Mr. Basdeo Panday. However as we perused tributes since his passing, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that beneath the political persona, he was as “Trini” as anybody else. This though surprising, is not unique to many in high office, who the general public rarely observe, outside of their public roles.
We are convinced that when Dr. Eric Williams decided to encourage the then young Manning to active politics, he must have seen tremendous potential in the geologist. One of our major fascinations with Manning was his chosen profession that would have easily guaranteed him a relatively comfortable existence, in the oil rich republic. Indeed we have always contended that his field of study was perhaps the underlying reason for Williams to spot him for future leadership. We have grown so accustomed to members of the legal profession dominating our political parties that other professionals are sometimes seen as rarities. It is also noteworthy that Dr.Keith Rowley, the current Prime Minister of the twin island republic is also a geologist.
Along with his dedication to the region, Manning also was very instrumental in the establishment of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and developing the country’s natural gas industry. To a great extent he gave support to the arts and succeeded in transforming the capital Port of Spain, into a modern city. He also established the Wealth Fund, that we imagine is to be used for the rainy days that have unfortunately visited T and T since the falling oil prices.We are certain that a well written biography of Mr. Manning would make fascinating reading. History will be kind to him and the contribution he made to Trinidad and Tobago and our region.