It was bad enough that Prime Minister Patrick Manning commandeered the entire electronic media at prime time Sunday. It was worse that Manning did not enlighten us on the raging issues of the day.
�2 Why did he summon a general election at mid-term?
�2 What is the state of the Treasury?
�2 What's the latest with respect to the forensic study into troubled Clico?
�2 When would the 91 Uff recommendations be implemented?
�2 What is being done to ensure, as Uff urged, that "money assigned for public construction projects must not be allowed to be corruptly diverted and, thereby, stolen from the public?"
�2 Does he have confidence that the police probe into Calder Hart would bear fruit?
�2 Does he regret his many public endorsements of Hart?
�2 Is the Tarouba Stadium ever going to be ready and what's the final tab?
�2 What's the truth of Andre Monteil's role in the Government and ruling party?
�2 Would he consider Dr Keith Rowley for his Cabinet?
There are several more open-ended questions, of course, but you get the drift of the type of issues Manning should have responded to in his one-hour telecast. To be sure, some of the matters were aired but the Prime Minister artfully dodged them and utilised prime time for skilful partisan politicking on the eve of a critical general election. And that's where the core issue resides. How fair and ethical is it for the Prime Minister to requisition the most viewed and listened-to hour two Sundays before an election that, according to all pundits, would be a ding-dong battle? Surely, there would be no contentious issue if Manning opted to dialogue with the country in the midst of a national emergency.
But his Sunday evening interview was surely aimed at bolstering his political stocks and granting him an undeserved advantage. He flagrantly uttered high-octane political statements. If Manning's argument is that he wanted to update the nation in a dispassionate manner, shouldn't he have engaged challenger Kamla Persad-Bissessar in spirited debate? Everyone lost out in the PM's self-serving session: The issues were skirted or sidestepped and Manning now has to defend allegations of huffing prime media time.