PORT OF SPAIN — Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning, died today at age 69.
Manning, who was the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, served as Prime Minister between 1991-1995, and again from 2001-2010. He served as Political Leader of the now-ruling People’s National Movement from 1987 until 2010, and he was Member of Parliament for San Fernando East from 1971 to 2015.
The ailing ex-parliamentarian underwent heart surgery in 1998, and had a pacemaker installed in 2004. In 2008, he underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumour on his kidney. In 2012, he suffered a stroke which prompted prayer vigils in his San Fernando constituency, and by 2015, he had removed himself from elective politics.
This week, on June 28, Manning was admitted to San Fernando General Hospital after tests revealed an abnormally low blood count. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on July 1 and died at 8:15 a.m. the next morning, surrounded by friends and family.
Hazel Manning, widow of the late Patrick Manning, in an interview with CNC3 TV in Trinidad & Tobago about her late husband’s passing
Remembered by Dominican Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, Manning was described as a “sincere advocate for regional integration”, a sentiment echoed by Barbadian political scientist, Peter Wickham.
“As he closes his eyes and rests”, Wickham said, “we should reflect on the highs, the fact that he revived the PNM to greatness after the passing of [Eric] Williams and presided over Trinidad and Tobago’s second economic boom in the post 80s era. He was…the architect of one regional initiative known as the Manning Initiative, which sought to create a coalition of the willing with Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana advancing along a regional path.”
In its initial reaction to the death, the CARICOM Secretariat called it a sad day for the Caribbean Community, describing Manning as one of the region’s “true champions.”