Local and regional leaders will attend Saturday's state funeral for former prime minister Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning who breathed his last at 8.15 am yesterday in the country he had devoted his life to furthering.
"He is at rest," his family said, as scores of people and callers began flooding the Manning family home at Vistabella from yesterday morning.
Former leader of the People's National Movement for 24 years, Manning, 69, passed away at the San Fernando General Hospital after being admitted on Monday with fever, following the removal of a wisdom tooth on the previous Friday. While in hospital he had battled a severe lung infection.
Following a battery of tests, doctors discovered last Thursday that Manning had acute myeloid leukemia (AML)–a rare, very aggressive cancer of the blood involving bone marrow and red and white blood cell issues.
The specific cause of AML is not clear, but it progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated. Research shows that there is a very low cure rate of 5�15 per cent for people over 60. Those who are unable to withstand intensive chemotherapy typically live for only five to ten months more.
A source said that while in hospital Manning had said he was going to die, and had told doctors to do what they had to do. Family members confirmed that Manning passed away peacefully and immediate relatives who had been with him, had been holding his hand when he passed on. However, the clan, while being strong, is deep in sorrow, they added, "There are many tears...."
home and abroad
Tributes were made by Prime Minister Keith Rowley, President Anthony Carmona, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, party and political colleagues, regional counterparts and from associates all over the world as far away as Ghana, the Manning family confirmed.
Carmona telephoned Mrs Manning and spoke at length with her and son, David. Another son, Brian, currently overseas studying, is due home shortly.
A statement from President's House indicated Carmona commiserated with them, "expressing words of comfort, peace and prayer at the family's personal loss and T&T's great loss."
Stating that Manning's death is a monumental loss to the Caribbean as well as T&T, Carmona, via a press statement, said, "The Republic of T&T has received the heartbreaking news of the passing of former prime minister Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning. As a statesman and politician of some 41 years, he executed his responsibilities with genuine care and love for the people."
"His visionary and pioneering work in the oil and gas industry, infrastructural development, civil aviation, political and social reform and education, has catapulted our country closer to the attainment of developed nation status. So many people of all walks of life have been progressively and affirmatively touched by his life, his legacy, his work ethic and his vision for a greater and better T&T. Additionally, his 'Caribbean-ness' was beyond question and very dear to his heart. He was a firm believer in Caribbean integration."
Prime Minister Keith Rowley said, ".... Up until his death Mr Manning remained a source of guidance and inspiration to a generation of national and regional leaders who still sought his counsel even after he left active public life."
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar added, "It is with deep sadness we heard of the passing of former prime minister Patrick Manning. On behalf of all in the Parliamentary Opposition and the United National Congress, we send our heartfelt sympathy and prayers to his wife, Hazel, his sons and close relatives."
Congress of the People founder Winston Dookeran said, "Mr Manning's political life was one of courage, and one in which he never swerved from his commitment to building a modern T&T. I always felt his vision was laudable."
St Vincent Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who'd visited Manning on Tuesday, was in shock. "This was a visionary leader–no political leader in T&T after Independence has been a greater regional integrationist than Patrick Manning."
Gonsalves said tomorrow's Caricom summit being held over July 4-6 in Guyana will likely be dedicated to Manning and tributes from regional leaders will flow there.
In recognition of Manning's passing, flags were being flown at half-mast at all public buildings and foreign missions from yesterday until the day after his funeral.
Saturday was chosen for the service and burial to allow time for formalities such as allowing the body to lie in state in south and north Trinidad.
A ministerial team met yesterday on arrangements. Minister Stuart Young (Prime Minister's Office) said Manning's family will decide on final details of the state funeral and other aspects leading up to Saturday's funeral.
A government statement subsequently confirmed Manning's body will lie in state at the South Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa) on Thursday.
The body will also lie in state at the North Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) on Friday.
Sources said Saturday's funeral arrangements may encompass the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain, and nearby Woodford Square.
A book of condolences will be open today between 9 am and 6 pm at Napa and Sapa
From Monday to Friday it will be available at both locations from 8 am to 6 pm.
Books of condolences will also be opened at Borough corporations in Arima, Rio Claro/Mayaro Chaguanas, Point Fortin and Tobago's Assembly Legislature.
PNM members began signing a condolence book at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Manning, who joined the PNM as a youth, went on to become its third leader in 1986, rebuilding the PNM after the NAR's crushing 1986 victory.
A geologist, he was T&T's fourth and sixth Prime Minister over 1991/95 and 2001/2010. The longest serving MP, he represented the PNM in San Fernando East for 44 years, retiring from politics in January 2015 although he'd initially indicated interest to contest the September 2015 general election.
Among health issues, Manning suffered from rheumatic fever at age 14, underwent heart valve surgery in 1998, had a pacemaker installed in 2004, and also had corrective eye surgery that year. In 2008 he underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a malignant kidney tumour, and also had the kidney removed.
In 2012 Manning suffered a stroke which limited some of his movement.
In 2008 Manning had said he did not fear death.
?Book of condolence
opens at Napa, Sapa
The Government is expected to open a book of condolence today from 9 am to 6 pm at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa).
From Monday to Friday, the condolence book will also be opened at Napa and Sapa from 8 am to 6 pm. A book of condolence will also be opened at the following locations:
�2 Arima Borough Corporation
�2 Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporation
�2 Chaguanas Borough Corporation
�2 Point Fortin Borough Corporation and
�2 Tobago at the Assembly Legislature.
Nightly wakes at
Hazel Manning, wife of Patrick Manning, has invited religious bodies and members of the public to their Sumadh Gardens home to pay their respects during nightly wakes leading up to the funeral on Saturday.