Former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for San Fernando East Patrick Manning (left) attracted the attention of colleagues as he entered the Parliament chamber today. PHOTO by MICHEAL BRUCE

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He's back

 The House of Representatives would today complete debate on the Bail Bill at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, which increases the number of offences for which persons charged would not get bail.

The debate would be taking place amidst an unprecedented crime wave of 22 murders within nine days.

The bill requires a three-fifths majority—which means that 26 members must vote in favour of it. The Government has 27 MPs.

 The Parliament is also expected to begin debate on the amendment to the Libel and Defamation Act to abolish malicious defamatory libel.

It is not known whether San Fernando East MP and former prime minister Patrick Manning, who is returning to Parliament after a two-year absence due to ill-health, will speak on any of the items down for discussion. 

Manning suffered a stroke on January 23, 2012, which paralysed his right side and affected his speech.
He took two years to recuperate during which time he was given extensive leave on the grounds of medical illness by House Speaker Wade Mark on the basis that his requests were always supported by documentation from his doctor.
Manning’s last application for leave, which was made in September last year, expired in late December 2013.
Manning is not the only member of Parliament who has received extended sick leave.
Arthur NR Robinson after the 1990 attempted coup and Eulalie James after the amputation of her leg were both MPs who took extended leave.
Manning took the longest leave in the history of the Parliament to date.

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