(Trinidad Guardian) It will be a committed gesture to the legacy of late former prime minister Patrick Manning if the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the region resuscitate the Caricom and Caribbean integration charted by Manning’s vision of the Caribbean as a potent force on the world stage, said President Anthony Carmona on Saturday.
“Mr Manning’s reach wasn’t confined to the economic and social development of T&T. This is why people across the region have reacted with so much passion and sadness at his passing. We’ve witnessed this through, for example, the observance of two days of national mourning on Thursday and Friday in Dominica,” Carmona added at Saturday’s funeral service for Manning.
“Patrick Manning wasn’t a Caribbean armchair integrationist. His commitment to the unfinished business of the full integration of the region should be documented for posterity. This should be compulsory reading for future leaders in whose hands we would inevitably pass the baton and who must seek to build on his unfinished work.”
Carmona added: “He was bold enough to champion the cause of regional integration wherever he went, and at whatever forum he spoke. In one of his United Nations General Assembly addresses he advanced that T&T, within its limited means, continues to recognise the importance of building a Caribbean civilisation based on the common history we share with neighbours. He said T&T was determined no member of our Caribbean family must be left behind, as the region seeks to maximise the benefits of the Caricom Single Market and Economy, to provide a better way of life for all our peoples.
“He was committed in his quest to contribute to the building of a modern Caribbean civilisation in many ways. I also recall the importance he attached to Caricom’s energy security through the Regional Energy Security Task Force’s work. Part of this was creation of an energy pipeline linking T&T and countries in the Eastern Caribbean.”
Carmona said while some were only writing or articulating on what regionalism should be, or engaging in sheer rhetoric on the subject, “Patrick Manning was about devising solutions to help foster this Caribbean civilisation…This was a testament of this quintessential Caribbean man at work, ensuring the economic well-being of not just T&T, but the entire Caribbean region.
“It was always about regional empowerment collectively and individually disbursed. His attempts were to jumpstart a genuine Caribbean integration movement, and vitiate implementation deficits he encountered because many decisions and communiqués of Caricom meetings suffered from a lack of operationalisation.
“Today we bid farewell to a dynamo of change, a champion of democracy and an era in the political landscape of T&T. We’re experiencing a tremendous outpouring of genuine love and adoration for a true statesman with a formidable legacy, embedded in our historical, political and national landscape.”
Saying Manning was also an internationalist, Carmona noted his African oil initiative to develop Ghana’s infant hydrocarbon industry.
“He saw T&T playing an important role based on its experience in the oil industry to aid African countries in this area of development. It’s a fitting tribute to his legacy. His work in this area continues to engage government’s astute attention.”
Carmona said Manning executed his responsibilities, “as a servant of the people, with genuine love and concern for T&T and its people.
“It’s not easy to live in a country where patience is sometimes thin, memory is short and everything must be made instant like coffee, a society where there are Gods, men and women who make no errors and countenance none, where compassion, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and mediation are expendables on the altar of political expediency and pragmatism.
“Mr Manning was the consummate public servant and he was a workaholic but in an enjoyable way. He read every single piece of correspondence that came before him especially from the public in all forms and they, his staff, were amazed and amused; he would put instructions on even a piece of paper as small as or even smaller than a call card. He’d be given large containers of work, only [for his staff] to receive it bright and early next morning, every piece of correspondence read and instructions written on them.
“I was told he never took a vacation. However, when those who worked with him in the office applied for vacation his forehead would immediately wrinkle and he’d say, “When you come back from a long vacation, you will forget how to work, so take five days.”