Yesterday morning, at approximately 8:15 a.m., the former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, left this physical realm to go back to the spiritual one to be with Almighty God.

The morning had just started for me. Around that time I was now getting out of bed. I had gone into the kitchen to begin breakfast preparations, when I heard people calling in on the radio station offering condolences to the Manning family. It took about five calls for it to sink in but I still didn’t want to believe it. I decided to head inside and check the internet to see what was going on. After checking the newspapers and not seeing anything of the sort, I went on to Facebook and sure enough, I got the information that I did not really want confirmed.

It hit me like a tonne of bricks but when I thought back to this past week, I remembered how the media reported that he was really critical and then they said that he was doing well and then, well, he was gone. And it bothered me when they said that he was doing well after he was really critical because I know that is a sign that one is ready to move on from this life on earth. Yet, the thought that he is no longer with us deeply saddens me.

I remember when he used to pass through our street to go to his home in Sumadh Gardens and every time he passed, my family would run outside to greet him and he always would smile and wave to us. I don’t think there was ever a time he passed us straight when we waved to him. Even when he was just the MP, and he passed by, my family would still greet him and he would still smile and wave to them. That simple gesture would forever live on in my heart.

I also have to thank the late great Mr. Manning for giving me the opportunity to access tertiary education, an opportunity I would never been able to dream about had he not taken GATE a step further to provide free tertiary education for all. Because of him I was able to acquire my Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees and I am currently pursuing my Master’s, none of which would have been possible if it wasn’t for this man of paramount vision.

Mr. Manning also had the country of Trinidad and Tobago at heart, especially the city of Port of Spain as he began transforming it into a space worthy of being called the capital of our country. The decisions he made, he made them with good intentions. However, as with all of us humans, he made a few mistakes along the way but his intentions for making this country great were truly genuine.

The city of San Fernando mourned the loss of this pioneer in its own way as there were quite a few showers throughout the morning. One minute he goes to do a dental procedure, the next, he is no longer with us. Life is such a fleeting dream.

I hope that God gives Mrs. Manning the strength to get through this chaotic time as it is never easy losing a loved one. Although death is a part of our journey, one is never prepared for the passing of another, especially when it happens so quickly and unexpectedly.

Rest in eternal peace with the Lord Mr. Manning. Your contributions to the country, to myself and family, shall never be forgotten.