PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: It took him some 18 months to break his silence, but that is just what former prime minister, Patrick Manning, did recently when he apologized to his supporters who, he said, he may have “hurt or disenfranchised” while in office.
The 65-year-old Manning told a news conference in his San Fernando East constituency that he was not a “perfect” leader and said his apology was to those who felt hurt “or otherwise disenfranchised by actions … taken by the government.”
Manning had been quiet on issues of national importance since the defeat of the People’s National Movement on May 24 last year in a general election he called more than two years before they were constitutionally due.
“I think it is an appropriate time for me to apologize to all of those who feel, or felt, disenfranchised by any action that I may have taken over the years as prime minister or in any other capacity.
“I wish to humbly apologize to all of them and to say to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, I am sorry.”
He also said the reason he had not been attending party functions is so that he would not seem to be undermining the new PNM leader, Dr. Keith Rowley.
“Since there is a new leader of the PNM, I could not continue to conduct my business as if no change had taken place. Significant change had indeed taken place and therefore I decided I will be silent for a while seeking to do nothing that will appear to undermine the authority of our new leader or in any way seek to detract from the efforts that he will undoubtedly make to chart his own course”.
Manning didn’t miss the opportunity to take a swipe at the ruling People’s Partnership, saying that he did not think the coalition is able to move the country forward. However, he said he believes that the future is “extremely bright”.
“Things are going to get significantly worse before they get better,” added Manning.
Manning is the longest serving member of the country’s parliament and has led the government on two separate occasions, from 1990-95 and 2001-2009.