PORT OF SPAIN – “I am still standing.”
Following rumours of his death on Tuesday evening, former prime minister Patrick Manning yesterday walked the streets of the capital city, where he declared he was still standing and going strong.
The former political leader of the People’s National Movement walked around the city for just over an hour in the blazing afternoon sun, greeting the people and even doing some shopping.
Dressed in a black T-shirt, blue track pants, sneakers and a red cap, Manning started his walk from the People’s Parliament – Woodford Square – around 12:30 p.m.
He was greeted warmly by most people, but there were a few snide remarks against him.
Accompanied by former sport minister Gary Hunt and his driver, Manning was given a copy of a booklet, titled A Meaningful Life is Possible, by a Jehovah’s Witness woman, who said, “He’s a man I love very much!”
He then proceeded to the University of Woodford Square blackboard, where he read words which complained of the People’s Partnership governance.
Speaking to reporters at Woodford Square, Manning said he came to town to buy a shirt to wear to a church service.
Asked if his surprise venture had anything to do with the rumour of his death, Manning said, “Well, actually this morning I started to call God from Heaven, I heard the rumour, I couldn’t understand it, I know nothing about it.”
Questioned on the state of the country, Manning said, “We ain’t take them on yet, I am not for that at this time.”
However, he did say the PNM victory at the Tobago House of Assembly elections in January was a first-class one.
Manning suffered a stroke in January 2012 and has been out of Parliament since.
Asked whether he would be ready to return soon, Manning said he was prepared to go back to the Parliament, but he suffered a seizure which set him back.
He said he was uncertain as to when he would be able to return to the House, but he did indicate his constituents were represented and that he had met with them on Tuesday.
Manning said he takes therapy four days a week and his recovery, although not easy, was under way.
Asked if he had any words to share with the people of the country, he said, “I am still standing!”.
Manning then walked down Frederick Street, where he created a frenzy as people whipped out their cellphones and took pictures of the former prime minister.
Women rushed to hug and kiss him, while young children posed with him for pictures. (Express)