PORT OF SPAIN – Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi says Government did the “proper thing” in offering the nation’s highest honour- the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago- to former Prime Minister Patrick Manning as he was “deserving of the award”.
The Manning family yesterday indicated that it would be unwilling to accept the ORTT on Manning’s behalf as he had declined the award when he was alive.
“…we will continue to respect that decision now that he has passed,” Brian Manning noted in a statement yesterday.
Speaking at a forum at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Westmoorings, this morning, Al-Rawi said Government was obliged to do the proper thing, which is was to indicate its willingness to put forward the ORTT, as this was suggested by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley last week.
“Obviously that is entirely subject to Mr. Manning’s family’s acceptance of it but one would have been guilty of being blamed for not offering it if one had not offered,” he said.
“It is entirely a decision for the family. Brian Manning spoke to the issue and very capably said he would respect his father’s wishes in having declined it on the first opportunity, but we as a Government certainly feel that Mr. Manning is deserving of the award. We felt that it was proper to make the invitation of offer of the award and it has gone to his family and his family has spoken and I don’t think there is a real issue in relation to that,” Al-Rawi added.
He went on:
“Brian manning’s statement was very consistent with his father’s demonstrated action. One had to consider whether the refusal was on account of who offered it and in what circumstances but I don’t think that there was any inconsistency or any insult in the family’s view of this.”
As to the wish of the Manning family for honour to be bestowed on the late former Prime Minister by way of the re-establishment and expansion of the Divine Echoes Orchestra initiative and establishment of the Patrick Manning Development Fund at the IFC (International Finance Centre), the Attorney General said:
“The Prime Minister did indicate that the operations of other requests were being looked at. The Divine Echoes is something which was on the plate a long time ago. It’s something that we had spoken about whilst we were in Opposition. It certainly meets with our agenda on social programme and ancillary support to our society.”
“The issue of the IFC’s Developmental Fund, obviously the IFC language for quite some time under the last Government is now being operationalised in a very different way and when the IFC is properly seated in the performance of what it does and what its trajectory looks like, I am sure that that request and reflection would be considered by that entity.”
Describing the suggestions by Brian Manning as good, Al-Rawi said they must be put into the context of what is achievable and affordable.
“So, good idea but now let’s see about the realistic operationalisation of an idea because many have slipped between cup and lip as the saying goes.”