THERE are no plans to replace Member of Parliament for San Fernando East Patrick Manning who has been away from official duties for the past nine months after suffering a stroke in January.
General secretary of the People's National Movement (PNM), Ashton Ford, said the former prime minister was in need of prayers and support and the party was doing whatever it could to assist him.
Ford said yesterday there was no discussion by party officials to replace Manning, who has been the MP for San Fernando East since 1971.
He said, "Mr Manning is still a Member of Parliament (for San Fernando East). He did not leave from Parliament. Mr Manning has been given leave by the Speaker (of the House) and until such time, he is still considered a Member of Parliament."
Ford added, "In the meantime, the party has put proper machinery in place to ensure that the people get representation and their issues and problems are dealt with and so on. There are councillors, there is the (constituency) office running. We have people who went with their problems and we attended to their problems."
On February 3, Speaker of the House Wade Mark granted 90 days leave of absence to Manning. He was expected to return to Parliament by May 3, but was granted additional leave.
According to a Parliament source, there is no maximum amount of leave that Manning can request. All he had to do, the Express was told, was apply for further leave before the expiration of his existing leave, and give reasons for his application.
Assistant secretary in Manning's constituency office at Coffee Street in San Fernando, Karlene Granger, said there were no complaints from constituents about their MP's prolonged absence.
She said, "They understand fully well that he is recuperating from his illness and many wish him a speedy recovery. Yes, they do miss him coming and sitting in the office and chatting with him, but there were absolutely no complaints about him not being here at this point in time."
Manning returned to his Sumadh Gardens, Vistabella, home on Saturday after spending two nights at the San Fernando General Hospital. He had suffered a seizure on Thursday.
Manning who turned 66 on August 16, spent several months in Washington DC, United States, undergoing treatment for the stroke before he returned home last month.
He is still undergoing therapy daily.
His wife, Hazel, said her husband would be the one to say whether or not he would be returning to public life.