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Former PM declines top national award

Published: 
Friday, August 22, 2014
Patrick Manning

Following is the full statement released by former Prime Minister Patrick Manning announcing his decision to decline the nomination for the Order of the Republic:

I wish to respectfully decline the publicly announced nomination by the honourable Prime Minister to have me receive the Order of the Republic of T&T, this nation’s highest award.

The primary reason is rooted firmly in my principled stance to not accept any T&T awards while serving as an MP. Additionally, it is important to note what is appropriate and what is not, regarding the announcement of such awards. The award of the Order of the Republic of T&T is given to a national of T&T who "has rendered distinguished and outstanding service to Trinidad and Tobago."

The Hon Kamla Persad Bissessar was able to win government on May 24th 2010 through a series of sustained and vicious attacks on my character that was led personally by her. These attacks continue. Through this nomination announcement is the Hon Prime Minister retracting those venomous accusations and charges against me?

Additionally, I was made aware of this nomination through persons who saw it reported on the social media, Facebook. Subsequently, a daily newspaper called one of my sons for a comment on the nomination. I was neither consulted, nor advised prior to this announcement. I consider this approach a gross discourtesy.

Under PNM administrations, a committee considers these distinguished national awards, with the Chief Justice as chairman and subject to the imprimatur of the prime minister. Due process for these awards includes informing the potential recipients through the Office of the Prime Minister in a confidential manner.

Only recipients who have agreed to accept an award are then announced publicly, and with dignity. Had I been consulted beforehand, I would have been able to privately decline. The need for a public distancing is unfortunate but necessary in the light of the many and increasingly debauched approaches to these matters used by this UNC administration in its four years in office.

I assure all citizens that I hold our institutions, ceremonies and awards in the highest esteem and I pray for the day when the Hon Kamla Persad Bissessar and the PP government demit office and we can once again 'take our pride in our liberty'."