T&T says goodbye to former PM Manning
PORT OF SPAIN (CMC):
Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) yesterday bade farewell to Patrick Mervyn Augusts Manning, who served as prime minister on two occasions and was remembered as a person who sought not only the social and economic development of his own country, but the entire Caribbean.
Manning, 69, who died less than 24 hours after he had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on July 2, was, up until September 2015, the longest serving legislator in T&T.
His son, Brian Manning, in his eulogy, called for the establishment of a regional fund to provide housing for low-income people throughout the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
He said it should be called the "Patrick Manning Development Fund" and housed at the International Financial Centre in Trinidad.
The younger Manning also called for the re-establishment of the Divine Echoes Orchestra that was disbanded by the People's Partnership government soon after it replaced the Manning administration in 2010.
He told the mourners that his father truly believed that music was an avenue to help young people channel their energy and lift lives and spirits.
LED BY EXAMPLE
"He was a father to many and touched many lives. He always led by example," Manning said, adding that the policies of his father's administrations were aimed at alleviating poverty, improving education, and providing housing to all people.
Among the regional and international dignitaries attending the three-hour 15-minute church service were the president of Dominica, Charles Savarin, the prime ministers of St Lucia, St Kitts, and Grenada. Former Bahamian prime minister Hubert Ingraham was also among the mourners, while Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Tents were erected at the nearby Woodford Square to accommodate thousands of people who turned up for the service, reminiscent of the environment in which Manning would campaign for political office.
CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said the region has "lost a truly remarkable person and statesman", reminding the congregation that regional leaders at their summit, which ended in Guyana earlier this week, adopted a resolution paying respect to Manning for his "unselfish support" to the region.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that after a friendship lasting more than 35 years, "I have never heard him to speak of anything for himself; it was also for Trinidad and Tobago".
He described Manning as "one of our fairest sons" who made public service a hallmark of his more than 40 years in service to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.
Manning was born on August 17, 2016 and served as the country's fourth and sixth prime minister between 1991 and 2010.
Following the state funeral, the body of the former prime minister was taken to a chapel of a funeral home for a private service for members of his family.
Manning is survived by his wife, Hazel, a former education minister, and two sons.