FORMER prime minister Patrick Manning made one of his first public appearances yesterday after having suffered a stroke over a year ago.
Manning attended a thanksgiving service held by the People's National Movement (PNM) San Fernando East Women's League at his constituency office in Coffee Street, San Fernando.
Manning arrived around 5.05 p.m. in the front passenger seat of his Range Rover vehicle. He emerged from the vehicle without walking aids or assistance from anyone.
The former prime minister walked with a limp to his right side and did not move his right arm from his side. As he walked up the staircase, he used his left hand to hold onto the wall and the bars of the burglar-proofing.
Asked by reporters how he felt, he smiled and said in a soft tone: "Fine, thank you."
His wife, Hazel Manning, walked closely behind him as they entered the doors of the constituency office.
The last time Manning was seen publicly was on July 31 last year when he used a cane to assist him to walk and had a sling supporting his right arm.
He was at Piarco International Airport after returning from Washington DC in the United States where he underwent therapy.
Assistant secretary in the San Fernando East constituency office Karlene Grainger told reporters awaiting Manning's arrival that the media was not invited to attend the function.
Grainger said the decision was taken in a meeting of the San Fernando East Women's League.
The former political leader of the PNM suffered a stroke on January 23 last year at his home in Sumadh Gardens, San Fernando.
He was hospitalised at the San Fernando General Hospital and later spent months in physical and speech therapy in Washington.
After his return to Trinidad, Manning did not return to public life nor resume his duties as Member of Parliament for San Fernando East.
He has been granted leave of absence from Parliament on three occasions. The latest of these was last Wednesday when House Speaker Wade Mark granted Manning a further 42 days leave of absence.