Although Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing yesterday condemned former PNM leader Patrick Manning's "Walk For Democracy", his daughter-in-law, Laurel, a PNM executive member, joined Manning's walk yesterday afternoon. Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing, who is the PNM's youth officer (female), and PNM General Council member Joel Primus joined the second leg of Manning's walk at yesterday's San Juan starting point. Manning is walking from Port-of-Spain to San Fernando over seven days to protest his suspension from Parliament and highlight Government's treatment of other national issues.
Accompanied by supporters, Manning left San Juan at 3.30 pm, walking the Eastern Main Road into the Uriah Butler Highway. They arrived at the conclusion of that leg at Grand Bazaar around 4.45 pm. Braving punishing sunshine, Manning received warm smiles, waves, handshakes and words of encouragement from people who came out on the route to watch the PNMites proceed to drummers' beat. Again yesterday, sole representation from the complement of PNM MPs was MP Alicia Hospedales. Lezama-Lee Sing is also the only member of PNM's executive to take part in Manning's walk.
Yesterday morning, Laurel's father-in law, Lee Sing, dismissed Manning's walk as "foolishness", describing those who followed Manning as being "led into a sanatorium." The mayor said Manning had "lost it" and he was to blame for T&T's current state. He advised Manning to go preach the gospel as he had once promised. Lee Sing also criticised former ministers Gary Hunt and Mustapha Abdul Hamid who are involved in the walk. But Lezama-Lee Sing, after walking with Manning, said she had not heard what her father-in-law had said and had not spoken to him about it.
Saying she would continue to participate in Manning's walk, Laurel added:"I'm team PNM and I support my party's leadership. As I understand it the party has lent its support to the San Fernando East's initiative.
"I support what the walk stands for-justice and democracy. I feel strongly an injustice was done. "Government has used its majority to take advantage of the situation in Parliament and I stand in solidarity with the member of my party against it." Lezama-Lee Sing said she anticipated more people would join the march on the weekend when people were not working.
Manning, Hunt and Abdul-Hamid also shrugged off Lee Sing's comments with a no comment position.
Primus said he was on the walk due to the many national issues. He added: "Someone needs to stand up and say to the Government we want them to rethink positions. "I will hope there can be greater level of maturity in the PNM and people can get past the whole notion of 'Patrick Manning' and see the value of the PNM standing as a united force representing principles for the people.
"The PP has failed T&T and it's important for the PNM to stand together, so I will hope PNM leadership would take stock, be mature and understand it's not about Manning but T&T." MP Amery Browne said yesterday he would join the walk later. He added: "One of the roles of the Opposition is to hold the Government to account. Government has been doing very, very poorly and we welcome any avenue with which citizens can reflect their displeasure at Government's performance." Today's walk starts from Grand Bazaar, ending at Endeavour.