I had said to associates on Twitter yesterday that I felt the inclination to write on the allegations being made about Prime Minister Patrick Manning's alleged involvement with the church being erected at Heights of Guanapo.
As a born-again believer myself, there were many things said and written that troubled me. In particular, I was troubled by my impression that much of what was being written was in ignorance of the beliefs and practices of full gospel assemblies, and further that they appeared to ridicule believers and their practices as well.
My intention at the time was to go into depth, discussing some facts about full gospel belief and worship systems, explaining too that the full gospel assemblies are not a single monolithic organisation. They do share though a core belief - that the sacrifice of the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was made for the redemption of all mankind, and in accepting that sacrifice as one's own, a person is redeemed with God and will live evermore in eternity with Him. Doctrine then is based on the belief that the word of God is His full and complete word, and these stand to both unify the assemblies, and distinguish them from other Christian sects.
With that outlined, I'd next intended to present a brief explanation of the mores to which believers would adhere as dictated by Christ, and touching on ideas surrounding believer relationships and individual spiritual growth.
With those as basis, I'm thinking that I'd have then gone into my understanding of the allegations being presented. I'd have then examined two main sets of scenarios - Patrick Manning's hands are dirty versus that the Prime Minister's Office had nothing to do with this situation.
This would have been a thinking-out-loud exercise and for me, I felt it necessary to try to do so because the information being presented was unclear, much unfounded and in many cases, presented just one side. There was also the question of Opposition intent in bringing this information to the Parliament in the manner they had, and how quickly it descended in the public space to the derogatory. I felt it necessary to turn everything over and over in my mind as well because up to yesterday, neither Prime Minister Manning (who I will say I felt must answer) nor the lady who had been described derogatorily as a "Seer Woman" had responded. Further, no one seemed to be speaking in voice as loudly as the Opposition to present an alternate case. I felt it necessary to examine the situation too because I have been convinced that there is a deeper relationship between the Prime Minister and the lady, described as his "spiritual advisor". That said, I did feel that there was both the possibility of malfeasance, that there was an equal possibility that Manning's hands were clean but the lady not straight, and another equal possibility that they were both being maligned.
Yesterday though, Manning, being given leave to respond to the allegations raised, he delivered a 53-minute long and very comprehensive contribution in the House of Representatives.
Citing first the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, a passage which reads:
Whereas the People of Trinidad and Tobago -he presents, with figures, the ways in which all Governments of Trinidad and Tobago have directly and via state agencies provided assistance to religious denominations. He further goes into a discussion on the evolution of those modes of assistance to present time, citing examples of specific instances of Government assistance to religious bodies. He winds up by discussing the specific matter raised by the Opposition recently on the Lighthouse of the Lord church.
- have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human
person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;
Like the person of the Prime Minister or not, the public has clamoured for a response from him on the issue, and this is his response. I strongly suggest that persons put aside their disdain for the man Patrick Manning and listen to the material presented.
An issue cannot be properly assessed unless all sides are considered. The Opposition party having had their turn, the press having run with the issue in their own way, members of Parliament and government officials having responded to specific details in the matter, the Prime Minister now brings to the table an attempt to address the matter in total. Simple principles of fairness suggest that you give the speech a hearing because it really cannot be reduced to sound bites.
[The video of Prime Minister Manning's presentation embedded above was extracted by persons unknown to me from the Parliament Channel's online feed, and is hosted at video site Vimeo.com].