PM tells Sharon: Probe Bro Michael
BY KAYODE JAMES
Prime Minister Patrick Manning is challenging controversial former PNM member Dr Sharon Gopaul-McNichol to research the background of her fellow Congress of the People member, Bro Michael Samuel.
Addressing supporters at Aranguez Secondary School after a party walkabout in the area, Manning criticised Gopaul-McNichol for stirring up internal turmoil for the PNM in the constituency.
Gopaul-McNichol made headlines last year, when she alleged that the PNM office in St Joseph had covered up several instances of sexual molestation by high-profile party members.
Manning challenged her to investigate the former principal of Presentation College in San Fernando, and to submit a report to COP political leader Winston Dookeran in two weeks.
“Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Enough said.”
Manning did not explain why he believed Bro Michael should be investigated, but the audience laughed and cheered in approval in response to his suggestion.
Manning is a graduate of Presentation College, San Fernando.
In an immediate response, Gopaul-McNichol in turn challenged Manning to release the findings of his investigations into alleged cases of sexual abuse in the PNM’s St Joseph office.
“Why must I research Bro Michael quite in the south, when I have these problems right here in my constituency?”
Gopaul-McNichol dismissed Manning’s accusations, saying she had tried to save, rather than destroy, the beleaguered constituency office, after several high-ranking PNM officials, including current Minister of Security Martin Joseph, failed to manage it competently.
“I am the person who had the courage to unravel it and take it on.
“He should be thanking me for having the courage to take on these things that they have covered up for the last 20 years.”
Gopaul-McNichol added that if Manning had information on Bro Michael, he should give it to the authorities.
Manning enjoyed a positive reception during his afternoon walk, which started on Nanan Trace with an entourage that included his wife and Minister of Education Hazel Manning, Minister of Trade and Industry Kenneth Valley, Minister of Culture and Development Joan Yuille-Williams, Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and Minister of Tourism Howard Chin Lee.
At least 300 supporters from the area flanked the PM, who shook hands with dozens of residents, kissed babies, hugged children and promised a renewed approach to the area.
Except for a handful of frustrated motorists who refused to wind down their windows to shake Manning’s hand, Aranguez residents welcomed the event.
While most seemed pleased to simply meet Manning, many others pleaded for help with the poor drainage in the area.
At one point during the walkabout, the stench emanating from the stagnant, mossy drains was overwhelming.
Manning addressed the concerns later by discussing planned reforms in local government systems, which he said would manage more efficiently community issues.
Manning gave no hint of the election date, but said party members would soon be responsible for going out and preaching the gospel of the PNM.
Manning also dismissed allegations of discrimination in several recent high-profile State prosecutions, saying that the Government was only doing what it considered to be moral.
“It has nothing to do with race; it has nothing to do with class... or who you are, it has only to do with the PNM adhering to its principles of morality in public office.”