Former PNM youth officer Dane Wilson has lashed out at critics of St Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ statements about former prime minister Patrick Manning suffering issues from some who benefitted from his efforts.
“Dr. Gonsalves wasn’t speaking from a diplomatic position. Clearly in paying tribute to his close friend he was echoing his grief at what had happened to his friend—it’s a bit of a stretch to see this as interfering in local affairs. Gonsalves has known Mr. Manning for decades. As such, it wouldn’t be unusual for him to feel pained at what had happened to his friend.”
Wilson was a PNM executive member under Manning’s tenure.
At the funeral service for Manning, who died on July 2, Gonsalves said Manning not only suffered the “slings and arrows” of misfortune but also from some who benefitted immensely and personally from his efforts, yet looked askance at him. Gonsalves said Manning forgave them.
Former public service head, Reginald Dumas, subsequently reportedly expressed concern over the statement, saying he would have thought twice about it.
Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal via text also said T&T “must not get taken away (sic) with this ‘Manning is God week.” Moonilal said Gonsalves had come to T&T and “talked rubbish.”
Wilson said critics of Gonsalves’ comments may have a problem hearing the truth. “They would also be too removed from the situation to understand Gonsalves was simply venting personal feelings about his friend’s life and times and what they might have spoken of.
He added: “Critics would be too removed from it since unlike Manning, they didn’t have the experience of anyone cursing or spitting after them due to loss of an election in 2010.
“From 2010 to now, few have spoken out about the bad treatment meted out to Manning.”
“Also, Moonilal had spoken glowingly of Manning when news of his death surfaced but he’s now backtracking on that by saying T&T shouldn’t be carried away by ‘Manning is God week’.
“I also heard the Prime Minister say Manning never took a vacation. To me, that shows Manning’s dedication and commitment.”