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Manning faithful slam Rowley’s absence at Piarco
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and the leadership of the Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) came in for heavy criticism yesterday after they failed to show at the Piarco International Airport Tuesday night for former prime minister Patrick Manning’s welcome reception. Manning returned from Washington DC after receiving physiotherapy for a mild stroke he suffered on January 24.
Many people at the airport on Tuesday expressed disappointment that none of the party’s executive leaders attended the event. And the former chairman of the party’s national youth league, Deon Jeffers, said Rowley seemed unprepared to bury the hatchet with Manning, his former leader.
Jeffers said apart from former MPs Gary Hunt and Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, current MPs Dr Amery Browne and Alicia Hospedales, former senators Laurel Lezama Lee Sing and Joel Primus, deputy political leader Joan Yuille-Williams, youth league personalities both past and present and a few other faces, the leadership of the PNM was absent.
He said the absence of Manning’s parliamentary colleagues and the leadership of the PNM was “an indication that the PNM (as far as the leadership was concerned) has turned its backs on the man who led this party for over twenty years.” Jeffers said it was expected because of Manning’s situation that Rowley and party chairman Franklin Khan should have been on hand to greet Manning.
“The absence of Dr Rowley in particular is inexcusable as Mr Manning was not returning from a vacation. He was coming home after prolonged illness. This was supposed to be a joyous occasion for all from the political leader to the grassroots,” Jeffers said.
He added that Rowley “seems hell-bent on throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Rowley cautioned supporters a few weeks ago at a PNM public meeting held at the Croisee in San Juan that there were “mischief-makers” in the party. However, his actions on Tuesday proved to be mischievous to say the least,” Jeffers said.
Rowley could not be reached for comment when the T&T Guardian attempted to contact him yesterday. Meanwhile, Manning spent the day at his San Fernando home relaxing and answering phone calls from supporters and well-wishers. Manning was not prepared to give any interviews yesterday. Sources close to Manning said he was happy to be home again.
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