Describing Prime Minister Manning as a “successful failure” during an interview yesterday, Villafana noted he was fearful for his life. “What I am very scared of is the repercussions,” he said. “I got to be careful now man”.
Last week Monday, Villafana, 81, stood at the front of his home and as Prime Minister Manning tried to enter, Villafana blocked him, saying he (Manning) was not welcomed here. Manning who appeared a bit taken aback by Villafana’s welcome, nevertheless brushed past him and walked into the yard to greet other persons.
Villafana put his hands on Manning’s shoulders and shouted, “you didn’t hear what I say? You not welcome here!” This caused Manning’s personal bodyguards to separate Villafana from the Prime Minister. As Manning carried on his walkabout, his bodyguard told Villafana, “you’re very lucky. No matter what, you’re not supposed to touch the Prime Minister or hold the Prime Minister.”
And speaking in the House of Representatives last Friday, Manning in the face of Opposition heckling on the matter, said that Villafana lives in Winnipeg, Canada and visits Trinidad during the winter. Heckled further by Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal about how he investigated the background of Villafana, Prime Minister said he only had to use the machinery of the PNM to get the information.
But while he admitted fearing for his life, Villafana said he had no regret standing up to the Prime Minister and said he is throwing his support behind UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to be the next Prime Minister.
In fact, Villafana believes the Opposition leader who succeeded Basdeo Panday to lead the UNC, has the potential to be a legendary female leader. Villafana said he hoped Persad-Bissessar could be a Margaret Thatcher (former UK PM), Golda Meir (former Israeli PM), Indira Ghandi (former Indian PM) or former Pakistan head Benazir Bhutto.
Speaking from his Real Street, San Juan home yesterday, Villafana, 81, fondly called “Piggy” in his neighbourhood, said he was fed-up of the “PNM mismanagement” and endorsed Persad- Bissessar. “Yes, Yes,” Villafana said, adding, “There is nobody else.”
But while he welcomes the idea of Persad-Bissessar taking over from Manning as Prime Minister, he said his greatest fear now was the readiness of the Opposition for the next general election. “I’m afraid. They haven’t gotten their act together. It’s so split up but I hope for the best for Kamla,” Villafana said.