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No PNM plans to replace Manning as MP
This month marks a year since former prime minister Patrick Manning suffered a debilitating stroke. And while PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley has not made any arrangements to replace him, Manning has been absent from 31 sittings of Parliament and Speaker Wade Mark has granted his requests for leave at three-month intervals.
Meanwhile, Manning continues to make remarkable progress. Since his return from the US in August, he has been walking and talking. He no longer requires a cane and has been undergoing regular speech and physical therapy sessions, which are paid for by the State. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that every available medical resource would be made available to ensure his speedy recovery.
In an interview yesterday, councillor for Mon Repos Shaka Joseph said there was no need to replace Manning in the San Fernando East constituency, which he has served since 1971. “Why should he be replaced? I feel confident that Mr Manning will be back in Parliament soon. He is still not 100 per cent well, but he is on his way,” Joseph said.
He added that since the PNM lost the 2010 general election, the numbers of people coming to the constituency office had dwindled drastically. “Mr Manning is still keeping in touch with the constituency. Since his stroke not much people come to us, but we have been keeping in touch with the constituents to make sure that their needs are met,” Joseph said.
He added that Manning calls regularly to make sure that all constituency matters are handled efficiently. “He co-ordinates with the constituency. I will never say that his constituency is neglected. He will be starting back his usual routine very soon,” Joseph said.
Chairman of the PNM San Fernando East constituency Kenneth Prescott said Manning had been visiting the constituency office once or twice a week. “The office is always open and the two councillors visit. Mr Manning always visits the constituency office and he sees people every week,” Prescott said.
Pressed as to how many people Manning had seen, Prescott said he was currently in a meeting and could not give further information. He said an executive meeting would be held on Monday to discuss the issue, after which the PNM hierarchy would respond. Contacted yesterday, Rowley said he was in a meeting and could not comment.
Speaker Wade Mark was also busy and said he would comment on Manning’s absence from Parliament at another time. Manning, a former leader of the PNM, suffered a stroke on January 23 last year at his Sumadh Gardens, Vistabella, home. He spent a few days at the San Fernando General Hospital and was then flown to Washington, DC, USA, for further treatment. He then stayed with relatives in the US and continued his rehabilitation.
He has been absent from Parliament for more than a year, having last contributed on December 9, 2011 during debate on the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) Bill.
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