It was a love thing at Piarco International Airport on Tuesday night as former prime minister Patrick Manning returned home and was mobbed by emotional supporters.
Manning, with the support of a walking stick, made his way through the arrival gates of the airport just before midnight with his wife, Hazel, by his side.
Manning, former political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM), suffered a stroke on January 23 this year at his Vistabella home. He spent a few days at the San Fernando General Hospital and was then flown to Washington DC, USA, for further treatment. He then stayed with relatives in the US and continued his rehabilitative process.
Since he left earlier this year, the country has not seen Manning.
Six months later, on his return home, the former prime minister looked visibly different as he seemed to have lost a lot of weight, but his eyes brightened and he smiled joyfully when he saw the overwhelming show of support for him.
There was speculation as to whether Manning would be able to walk and talk again following the stroke. On Wednesday, he walked out of the airport, and although he did not give a speech, he spoke briefly and acknowledged faces he recognised, including some members of the media.
As Manning exited the terminal, about six men and security officers held their hands and formed a circle around him and Mrs Manning to avoid the crowd from toppling them.
With the circle of protection, Manning walked out of the terminal and through the glass doors, a thick crowd following him.
On two occasions, he stopped and tried in vain to say something.
On the second occasion, he kept asking whether the people could hear him. His speech was careful and slow and not as strong as it was before.
His security called for silence. Manning tried to speak, but it was apparent he could not raise his voice loudly for everyone to hear him, so he decided to make his way to the waiting Range Rover. He and Mrs Manning got in the vehicle, and after listening to some women offer their blessings to him for a couple of minutes, the vehicle drove off.
Several women were teary-eyed as they shouted, "God bless you, Manning," "God heal you, Manning!"
Scores of loyal supporters from Manning's San Fernando West constituency, mostly women clad in their red PNM T-shirts, turned up at the airport to welcome the former leader.
Everyone, from young babes to the elderly, came out armed with placards of praise, some of which read, "Can't keep a good man down", "41 years and going strong", "Patos we miss you", "Mr Manning you are in our hearts and prayers", "Our hero Patrick Manning" and "Who God bless no man can curse".
At exactly 9.45 p.m., the scheduled time for Manning's arrival, the crowd broke out in song to the rhythm of drums and started singing, "Manning coming back," followed by "Hallelujah" and religious hymns.
Manning's flight was delayed, but this did not hamper the enthusiasm, anxiety and energy of his supporters who raised their voice in song, and many broke out in dance, waving their balisier flowers.
A tassa group was also present and kept the crowd energised until Manning's flight landed around 10.50 p.m.
The Express learned that before Manning came out and greeted his supporters, he was met by family members and his colleagues, such as former finance minister Karen Nunez-Teshiera, former sport minister Gary Hunt, former public utilities minister Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde, former tertiary education minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and current parliamentarians Dr Amery Browne and Alicia Hospedales.
Browne told the media that Manning's recovery exceeded expectations.
"I did speak to him within the airport...there were no great pronouncements on the future of the world or the country; it was just simple stuff: he had a pleasant flight; he was happy to be home," he said.
"I'm sure Mr Manning is quite pleased at the welcome he received...it's heartening that Trinidad and Tobago, I believe, has expressed its genuine sympathy as a nation for Mr Manning over the last several months, and many persons are simply happy as human beings and as members of society that he has recovered to the extent that he can return to his homeland," said Browne.
"We were 11 for some time and now, we are 12, and that must be a good thing for the party, and the degree of enthusiasm and mobilisation that we see here today is also heartening for the party, like a little jolt of adrenaline," he added.
Browne said Manning still has some way to go with respect to his recovery process.