Born in San Fernando, Mr. Manning attained his primary and secondary education in South Trinidad, followed by his B.Sc. Degree (Special Honours) in Geology at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
Mr. Manning entered politics in 1971, at age 24, as the People’s National Movement candidate for the Constituency of San Fernando East, emerging victorious in the General Elections of that year. He retained this seat in every General Election until his passing, totaling 10 consecutive triumphs.
Serving under Prime Ministers Dr. Eric Williams, then Mr. George Chambers, the young Representative Manning was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary in Ministries including Works and Transport, Industry and Commerce, and Petroleum and Mines. He became a full-fledged Minister in 1981 holding the Industry, Commerce, and Consumer Affairs portfolio, then Energy and Natural Resources.
When the PNM lost the General Election in 1986 after 25 years, Mr. Manning was one of three PNM candidates who retained their seats. He became the Leader of the Opposition and within 2 months was elected to the post of Political Leader of the PNM.
In 1991 Mr. Manning was elected Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
He lost the General Election of 1995, returning to the position of Leader of the Opposition for the following six years. In 2001, when a deadlock arose in the House of Representatives, Mr. Manning was appointed Prime Minister by President Arthur N.R. Robinson. A General Election was then held on October 7, 2002, and Mr. Manning again emerged victorious.
In December 2003, Prime Minister Manning was awarded the Guyana Institute for Democracy “Democracy Prize” for his outstanding work in upholding the principles of democracy in the Caribbean region.
He was well-respected in the international community for his vision as a new-style Caribbean leader bent on having Trinidad and Tobago not only grow to developed country status on or before the year 2020 but simultaneously contribute to the development of fellow Regional States. In December 2004, he was awarded the Caribbean – Central American Action’s “Star of the Caribbean Award”, for his unwavering support of Caribbean neighbours in their time of distress.
In 2007, Prime Minister Manning called a General Election on November 4. He prevailed again as Prime Minister for the fourth time. Under his leadership, Trinidad and Tobago hosted the Fifth Summit of the Americas from 17 to 19 April 2009 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government on 27 to 29 November 2009. Also in 2007, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Medgar Evans University. He later stated in Parliament that the award was accepted on behalf of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2010, Prime Minister Manning called a snap General Election and the People’s National Movement was unsuccessful. He remained the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East until his retirement from electoral politics in 2015.
Mr. Manning is survived by Hazel, his wife, and his sons Brian and David.