It’s official.
Brian Manning, the son of former prime minister Patrick Manning, will seek to fill his father’s shoes in representing the people of San Fernando East in this year’s general election.
In a statement from the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) San Fernando East Constituency, the executive congratulated Manning on being selected by the party’s screening committee. On Sunday, the committee gave the nod for Manning to contest the parliamentary seat that his father held for 44 years. It also thanked incumbent MP Randall Mitchell for his service over the past four years and eight months.
“The PNM San Fernando East Constituency executive wishes to congratulate Mr Brian Manning on being selected by the screening committee to be the prospective candidate for San Fernando East for the upcoming general election. We do look forward to working with you as you chart your way forward.”

Manning holds a BA in Economics and a BSc in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds an MSC in Finance and Asset Management from the University of Maryland and an MBA in International Business and Marketing from the University of Miami.

In response, Manning said was humbled and inspired by the decision of the screening committee on selecting him

“The people of San Fernando East, regardless of political affiliation, mean the world to me. You have been my extended family and played a significant role in shaping who I am. I am committed to serving you, working with you and representing you. Special thanks to the Chairman and members of the San Fernando East Executive for your strength and support.
I look forward to working with all of you towards our common goal of improving the quality of life for all.

“Thank you also to the current Member of Parliament, Randall Mitchell, for his service to the constituency. To say these are challenging times is an understatement, and I, therefore, commit to working with all stakeholders as we navigate the uncertainty ahead. I am confident we can overcome anything with wisdom, creativity and resilience, Manning said.

Manning’s selection was not without controversy. Members of the constituency executive sent a letter to party chairman Colm Imbert claiming that there was fraud in the voting process.

The letter stated that voting was supposed to take place between 2 pm and 5 pm on Friday, but some people were invited to vote early.
“However, contrary to the designated voting process, certain members of the constituency executive were apparently invited to vote early on that morning. The ballot box was then left by the election officer at the South Regional Office between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm. During this time, several members were seen going into the South Regional Office.”

It added: “At 5.20 pm, the vote was tallied and the result told to us was 14 v 10 in favour of Brian Manning. This is odd to us because there were more than 10 votes cast in favour of Randall Mitchell. To make the issue very clear, we the undersigned signal to the screening committee now that we have cast our vote in favour of Randall Mitchell and recommend him to the screening committee,” the letter stated.

Under the PNM’s screening process, a minimum of one party group has to nominate a candidate. They are then screened by the constituency executive and the executive votes for the candidate of choice. If the vote is not unanimous, then all who received votes are free to go before the party’s national screening committee.
The executive said, “As we approach another general election, we are bound by our common goal of working for the people on the pillars of strength, integrity and patriotism. The San Fernando East Constituency stands with our political leader Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley as he continues to lead this great party with sound decisions and a clear vision for this nation.”

Reporter: Kevon Felmine