I contribute this piece to present some context to an article written recently by one Ferdie Ferreira in which he made disparaging remarks about people in the PNM, including myself. Over thirty years ago, Ferdie Ferreira was expelled from the People's National Movement by no less a person than Dr Eric Eustace Williams, the founder of the PNM. In 1973, Ferreira passionately supported Mr Karl Hudson Phillip in his failed and inglorious attempt to secure the office of political leader of the PNM. In the aftermath of Dr Williams' return as leader, Ferreira's campaign persisted as a full frontal attack on the PNM with a dogged, ruthless and relentless determination which had the effect of undermining the political leader and the leadership of the movement.
Dr Williams and the PNM, fed up of Ferreira's indiscipline and disruptive behaviour proceeded on a course of action which effectively declared Ferreira persona non-grata in the PNM. The then PNM wished to have nothing to do with Ferdie Ferreira and wished that he would have nothing to do with it. Even today, Ferreira still boasts of his efforts against Dr Williams, proclaiming his proclivity to repeat his actions against Dr Williams if again faced with a similar situation. He is still defiant and unrepentant.
It did not take Ferreira too long to return to active party politics. He, his long time colleague and political lifeline Mr Hudson Phillip, Surujrattan Rambachan and several others founded the Organisation for National Reconstruction. By now, Ferreira was completely exiled from the PNM. By his conduct, he declared himself an entire, total and absolute political enemy of the PNM. History will show that the ONR failed to win a seat in 1981. Ferreira, lost, estranged and abandoned, found himself without political shelter and in no man's land. He remained in the wilderness for many years until a sympathetic and forgiving Patrick Manning and the PNM afforded him a dry political space. Regrettably, he had not changed.
Never satisfied with his standing, always aspiring to be more influential than he had thus far been allowed to be and, ungrateful in the extreme, Ferreira found for himself a role in which he was well practised: attacking and undermining a sitting political leader of the PNM. Perhaps he sees himself as a king maker hoping the newly minted king would favour him especially. In any event, whatever his anticipated rewards, Ferreira became a political hitman in the period post 2007. It appeared that his mission was to attack, disfigure and destroy the image of the then prime minister and leader of the PNM, Mr Patrick Manning.
His special value was the strategy he used to market himself. He broadcast and had himself announced on various media as "a founding member of the PNM". This was doubtless intended to afford him credibility and authority as though he were speaking with wisdom and in the interest of the PNM. He proclaimed his love for Dr Williams, not his insubordination and sedition in the party. He avoided his expulsion and enmity towards the PNM for many years of his chequered and dubious political career. He failed to mention that he had spent 25 years openly attacking the PNM. He was now trying to rewrite history and reinvent himself as being some kind of PNM purist.
To this day, Ferreira continues his anti-Manning campaign. He never says a word or makes an appearance to address any issue of malfeasance on the part of the UNC government; but the minute Patrick Manning says anything, he awakens from his slumber to describe the former Prime Minister as deceitful and delusional. He appears politically paranoid, politically unstable and obsessed with Mr Manning. Mr Manning's interventions appear to make him, like many UNC politicians, nervous, uncomfortable, threatened and traumatised. Ferreira calls for Manning to leave the political ring having had 40 years in active politics. For all 40 of those years Manning has been a loyal servant of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and he has remained unquestionably and steadfastly loyal to the PNM.
Ferreira has pursued a career of disorderliness and mutiny within the party. Indeed, Patrick Manning is a man the latchet of whose shoe, Ferdie Ferreira is unworthy to untie. For my own part, I reject Ferdie Ferreira out of hand. I reject him as a man without political integrity. I reject him as speaking in the interest of the PNM. I condemn his remarks about Mr Patrick Manning and Mr Mariano Browne. The latter's only sin is that he commands more respect on matters of economics and finance in the national community than does Dr Lester Henry. I call on all members of the PNM to defend the proud legacy of the People's National Movement. If there is anyone who has overstayed his welcome and relevance in public life, I humbly suggest that Mr Ferreira take a good look at himself.