Prime Minister Patrick Manning was accused of provoking Opposition MPs after he used yesterday's debate in the Lower House to poke fun at both winners and losers in the recent United National Congress (UNC) internal elections. "To my good friend, the member for Couva North (Basdeo Panday), I think that he has made a significant contribution to the country's development and at some appropriate time I hope that the Parliament would recognise it," Manning said in yesterday afternoon's debate in the Lower House. He received an immediate interjection from Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday, who said: "I don't intend to die just yet." Manning quipped that it was not his intention to impute that Panday was facing death.
"I was very careful in my choice of words, Mr Speaker, not to suggest that my friend was dead, dying or in any stage that was suggesting that he was not in full control of all his faculties," Manning responded. Manning added that recognition should also be made to Tabaquite MP, Ramesh Maharaj, "on his contribution to the parliamentary life of the country. Maharaj retorted: "Like all of you think I leaving?" Manning proceeded to congratulate Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar on her success in the fight for UNC political leader. "I would like to congratulate her on ascending to the ranks of political leadership in the country and to wish her well in her future endeavours," Manning said.
He also bade good wishes to Chaguanas West MP, Jack Warner, on becoming the new UNC chairman and Opposition chief whip. He also described Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, as someone "who distinguished himself on being the lone survivor of the particular team" of candidates that he was a part of for the UNC internal elections. "He has done very well," Manning said. His contribution became interrupted by Princes Town South MP, Subhas Panday, who accused Manning of provoking Opposition MPs. "That is provocation," shouted Subhas Panday. Manning dismissed the suggestions.