In rejecting the offer of our country’s highest national award, former prime minister Mr Patrick Manning is alluding to at least two salient points that our society must be mindful of in its day-to-day life, particularly, in the context of the continuing degeneration of our moral and spiritual values.
Firstly, we both, as a people and as individuals, must reject the aphorism which apparently has been gaining credence and acceptability in our society that “politics has a morality of its own”. This acceptance serves to promote the abuse of people under the guise of another aphorism, “All is fair in love and war”.
Secondly, an individual is a human being with feelings, and one must not demonise an individual for making a mistake or doing what is wrong. We should be constantly reminded of the Biblical injunction, “Who is without sin, let him first cast the stone”, and the popular version, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Prime Minister Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in her published reply to Mr Manning’s statement of rejection of the proposed national award, stated, “It is regrettable that in rejecting the nomination, Mr Manning should seek to politicise the matter.”
She further explained, “It was meant to be a gesture of magnanimity and a moment to reach beyond the issues that divide us to
acknowledge Mr Manning’s many national contributions.” Magnanimity on whose part? Is the
award a personal gift of the Prime Minister or is the awards committee being magnanimous? To whom do the words “the issues that divide us” refer?
Is the Prime Minister politicising the issue by affirming, “The decision to honour Patrick Manning was based on the changing philosophy that has underlined many of the reforms brought by my Government”?
There is another saying, “A slip of the tongue is a direction of the mind.” Is this a PM’s slip of the tongue?
Mervyn N Millette