One year after the defeat of the PNM at the polls and his removal as political leader of the People's National Movement, (PNM), former prime minister Patrick Manning is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, all due to his suspension from the House of Representatives on Monday.Constituents of San Fernando East, which Manning has represented for 40 years, rallied around their suspended MP yesterday, describing the action as harsh and oppressive.ost of the constituents said the action by the People's Partnership Government only helped to strengthen Manning's role and function.Barry Garcia, who was part of Manning's security detail during his tenure as Prime Minister, said:"This Government has played right into Mr Manning's hand. Is best they had asked him to apologise... make him eat humble pie.
"They don't have the political acumen to deal with a 40-year political veteran because what they have done is to strengthen him."Pastor Nelton Richardson, who has a long relationship with Manning, described him as a wonderful person.He added: "It is regrettable for a man like Patrick Manning to face this situation. Anywhere you pass in this country you can see his impression."If there is forgiveness for wrongs committed, Patrick Manning is a man worthy of forgiveness. He is a fighter. A fighter goes down and then he comes back up."Roger Christopher, who was cleaning a gate at a business place in Cocoyea Village, said: "We could never get a prime minister like that again."That suspension is too harsh. As big people, they could have worked it out and not let it come to this but they only kicksing in Parliament."
A group of young men, "hanging out" at the Pleasantville Plaza, told the T&T Guardian it was wrong to suspend Manning after the Privileges Committee found him guilty of contempt of Parliament."They should have waited until he came back and then resolved that," said Damiael Saunders, referring to Manning's trip to Cuba where he has gone to seek medical attention."I strongly disagree with the decision. The Housing Minister, Dr Roodal Moonilal, has a vendetta against Mr Manning, ever since he (Moonilal) contested the San Fernando East seat and got a bad licking," he added.Another young man, who did not want to give his name, agreed with Saunders, adding: "They want to destroy him."Yet another argued: "You have to know how to beat a man. Making him apologise would have weakened him but suspending him has only made him stronger."
Jack Charles, on his way to the funeral of Sean "Smiley" Jackson, who was allegedly killed by a relative last week, said: "I feel satisfied with Mr Manning's representation, not 100 per cent, but 99 per cent. "I don't always agree with the things he has done but overall he has been a good representative for the past 40 years and I feel they should not have suspended him. That's harsh."Former police officer, Vernon Aberdeen, rationalised: "They could have let him go with a slap on the wrist because I see Mr Manning on his way out."Some other constituents, buying fruits and vegetables from a vendor, said the suspension was of no effect to them.
"Whether he suspended or not, I still have to work hard in this country. Those politicians not doing anything for me or my family," said one of them. Others, who did not want to be identified said they could not understand why Manning's supporters were objecting to his suspension.One said: "They should have encouraged him to appear before the Privileges Committee and state his case. If he had done this, maybe the outcome would have been different."He has been silent for the past year. Why are they now complaining that he has been silenced by the suspension. The PNM is not above the law."They suspended Panday (former prime minister Basdeo Panday) for a year and there was not this great outcry. What's the big deal?"