MIRANDA LA ROSE and GABRIEL BLACKMANN (NYLO INTERN)
Hazel Manning, wife of former prime minister Patrick Manning is appealing to people who have artefacts/memorabilia of the late leader and are willing to share them with the public to donate them to the Patrick Manning Collection.
“I have seen on Facebook lovely letters from him. On the UTT Library’s behalf, I am asking you to share them and to put into the permanent collection,”she said.
Mrs Manning spoke with the media today at the viewing of the collection, “The Life and Times of Patrick Augustus Mervyn Manning” mounted by the University of Trinidad and Tobago at the Adult Library of the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain.
Mrs Manning, her son David, other relatives and friends viewed the collection of some 3,000 exhibits yesterday on the occasion of her late husband’s 71st birth anniversary. The pieces date back to 1971 when Manning first entered Parliament as MP for San Fernando East.
Among the exhibits was a video documentary of Manning’s life. It was viewed against the background music of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, a favourite of the man, Manning.
Asked how she felt viewing the exhibits on the occasion of his birthday, Mrs Manning said, “I feel sad, very sad. Lots of memories.”
Earlier she was explaining stories behind the pictures. “A lot of the stories are not known. We will have to sit with them and go through as much as we know.”
On the exhibits in the collection, she said, “The exhibition gives the essence of Patrick, who he was, how hard he worked.”
Asked what stood out, she said, the document, Vision 20/20. “It was his dream and his vision that we could do much more because we have the resources. We have the talent.”
She said, Manning believed that citizens “could do so much more. He believed that the natural resources would be depleted at some point in time, and that human resources would have to take over for the sustainable development of the country. Based on that he was very much active in getting Vision 20/20 to do that.”
Meanwhile, she said, the commemorative committee established to honour her husband’s memory and which she heads, is putting together a programme that includes the publication of a book about his legacy and good governance. The book will look at the a system of good and sustainable governance, integrity, and the potential which could be realised.
"So that at the end of the day, we could do very, very well and be an example to the world, as small as we are. That was his dream. That was his thinking,” she said.
The committee also held a church service to mark the death anniversary of Manning. At present it is working on a lecture series.
Asked how one can pay homage to or honour Manning in the absence of a site to him, Mrs Manning said, “Just go to church. Go to church and say a prayer for him.”
Of the exhibition, the Mannings’ son David said, “I am forced to compare Patrick Manning the man to the vision he had for his country. The country needs to remember what he did, who he was, and the plans he had for the country.”
UTT Chief Librarian Martha Preddie in a background to the collection said UTT was proud to be selected to house the collection.
When Manning demitted office, she said, he handed over his collection which included photographs, plaques, some personal artefacts, and books that showed not only his political work and international visits but the personal side to him.
The collection is to be housed at the UTT Signature Campus at Tamana which is nearing completion. Plans are also in train to have a roving exhibition periodically before it becomes a standing collection.