Below is a response sent by the Office of The Prime Minister.
It is unfortunate that the former Honourable Prime Minister and Political Leader of the People’s National Movement, Patrick Manning, has declined the offer of this nation’s highest award, the Order of Trinidad and Tobago.
Whatever differences we may share politically the award sought to honour Mr Manning for his decades of service as a Parliamentarian. It was meant to be a gesture of magnanimity and a moment to reach beyond the issues that divide us to acknowledge Mr Manning’s many national contributions.
It is regrettable that in rejecting the nomination, Mr Manning should seek to politicise the matter. His comments run against the grain of what was a well intended gesture.
The concept of recognising the long and dedicated service of men and women who committed their lives to the people of Trinidad and Tobago must also been seen differently as we grow and mature as a nation.
The decision to honour Patrick Manning was based on the changing philosophy that has underlined many of the reforms brought by my government inclusive of the need to honour those who have served regardless of their political affiliation, religious or other beliefs.
While we acknowledge Mr Manning’s right to reject the honour it is my hope that the ideal of reaching beyond the divide of politics to honour those who served the nation has not been lost.