Friday, January 27, 2012

Tears of joy for Manning

By Susan Mohammed
January 27, 2012
PRIME MINISTER of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, yesterday wept as he spoke of his visit to see former prime minister Patrick Manning at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Speaking at the hospital following his visit, he said he was happy to see Manning recuperating after suffering a "mild" stroke five days ago.

"These are tears of joy for seeing him and see how he is recovering", Gonsalves said as he wiped the tears from his eyes. "It's a remarkable recovery for somebody who has had a stroke, but of course there is still a journey to travel. We must give him his time to rest and heal. He is obviously getting excellent treatment".

Gonsalves said Manning was equally happy upon his visit. "His eyes lit up. He smiled. I wouldn't tell you about what he spoke about. The bond is there, there was a lot of joy. He will get better", he said.

Gonsalves arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. and was greeted by Manning's son, David, People's National Movement members Joan Yuille-Williams and Gary Hunt, as well as Chief Executive Officer of the South West Regional Health Authority a (SWRHA) Anil Gosine, and SWRHA Chairman Dr Lackram Bodoe.

A smiling Gonsalves waved to the public and the media on his way in and said:"I hope you all praying for Patrick, eh. We all have to pray for our brother."

When Gonsalves emerged from the hospital he seemed emotional when asked about the visit.

"I should tell you I love Patrick", he said. "You know I love him. He has been my friend since university. We played pan together. We did a lot of things together. We worked well when he was in government. I have remained his friend through all the ups and downs of politics. He is my brother. I didn't spend a long time with him. I just wanted was for him to see my eyes and for him to see my eyes, and the love we have for each other."

Gonsalves said he prayed with Manning and gave him two books — an autobiography which contains some pictures of both of them, and the other a diary which Gonsalves wrote about a ten-day visit at Mount St Benedict in 2005.

He said yesterday's visit was a special concession by Manning's family, since visitors were limited.

Of Manning as a political leader, Gonsalves said:" He is a revered political leader of Trinidad and Tobago and the region. The fact that he lost an election does not mean that he is not a person of extraordinary merit. And worse, we have this thing that when people lose elections, they don't have merit. That is an old fashioned colonial notion. We have to value our people".

Gonsalves said he was spending one day in Trinidad and Tobago, and hoped later yesterday to visit a calypso tent and Desperadoes panyard.

The San Fernando East MP suffered a "mild" stroke on Monday night and was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital. His wife, Hazel, said Manning sat up for the first time on Thursday and asked the doctors to go home. He asked about the nation's development and wanted to know what was happening to him.

Manning was assured that he was on the road to recovery and is expected to be back on his feet in three to six months time.

Doctors were unable to say when the former prime minister would be allowed to go home.

A bulletin issued by the San Fernando East constituency yesterday at 5.44 p.m. stated that "Manning continues to improve daily" and that he "sat up, spoke, read the newspapers and is in good spirits".

The bulletin mentioned that Manning was visited by Gonzalves who received "clearance from the Chief of Medical Operations for a brief visit this morning".

It added: "Internationally, we have received well wishes from many countries including the Office of the President of the United States and Foreign Missions for China and Cuba."

Trinidad Express Newspaper National News of Trinidad and Tobago
Originally printed at