United National Congress (UNC) chairman, Jack Warner, says "it would be a blessing to our nation," should Prime Minister Patrick Manning resign and follow the example of former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who stepped down from office after diminishing approval of his leadership. "Tony Blair did not announce a snap election; he resigned as Prime Minister, as Leader of the Labour Party, and as a Member of Parliament," Warner said, adding: "Had the Prime Minister been capable of understanding that developed country status embodies recognised standards of governance, he would already have done the honourable thing and resigned from the offices of the leader of the government and the leader of the PNM; both of which he brought into widespread disrepute." Warner, who is in Korea on Fifa business, plans to mount pressure on Manning to resign.
With the Commission of Enquiry report on the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) and the local construction sector set to be laid in the Senate today, Warner maintained that Manning brought the Prime Minister's office into disrepute, through his repeated defences for Calder Hart, among other things. "It is obvious to many that Prime Minister Manning's understanding of developed country standards does not extend much beyond the physical infrastructure that Calder Hart's non-productive mega-structures represent," Warner said. He added that Manning's "public championing" for Hart, Udecott's former executive chairman, was unacceptable for a prime minister. "The Prime Minister's public championing of Calder Hart, when he had knowledge that the Udecott czar was under investigation for suspected criminal conduct, is another reason for Patrick Manning to seek the capacity to do the honourable thing and resign.
"That is what a Prime Minister who understands developed country standards of governance would have already done." Warner stressed that Manning chose to engage in "serial bungling, general abuse of office, nepotism, misuse of public funds, deception in Parliament and violation of the constitutional rights of citizens of our republic." "If Prime Minister Manning's self-inflicted act of political euthanasia in announcing an early election is his version of a resignation, the nation accepts it," Warner said. "(The nation accepts it) even though he (Manning) has already begun to use this gambit for a massive outpouring of public funds from a dwindling treasury in a blatant and all too familiar attempt at bribing the electorate." Warner also raised concerns about Manning misleading the Parliament on several occasions, and noted that Manning should "attempt now to rise to developed country governance standards and resign for lying to Parliament and for making it a habit.
"He should not aspire to wait until 2020 to do the honourable thing," Warner added that no Commonwealth leader "has been so excoriated by the Privy Council for violating the constitutional right of citizens" as Manning. "In any nation seriously aspiring to developed country standards in public affairs, a Prime Minister would have done the honourable thing and resigned after the first scathing Privy Council judgment," Warner said.