Panday hailed for contribution to Caricom
THE Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat has joined those paying tribute to former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday who died in hospital in the United States on Monday, January 1.
In a release on Wednesday the secretariat noted that Panday held a multi-faceted career in service of his country, as politician, trade unionist and civil servant.
“He used his exceptional skill as a barrister to advocate passionately for workers’ rights. His belief in the value of education, and his ideologies and initiatives, made a lasting impact on the twin-island republic,” said the secretariat.
It pointed out that as chairman of Caricom, at the close of the last century, Panday hosted a two-day summit of regional leaders with deliberations focused on ‘Concluding the 20th Century and Commencing the 21st’, with outcomes aimed at preparing the community to face the first decade of the new century.
“He was also active in media and culture, as an actor, multi-linguist and proponent of religious pluralism.
“The community extends heartfelt condolence to his family members and friends, and the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago. We join with all who mourn the passing of this son of our soil, who served with determination and passion, and made an enduring contribution to our progress and development,” added the secretariat.
According to a statement that his daughter, Mickela Panday, posted on social media, “He passed with his boots on, keeping everybody around him on their toes with his wit and humour.”
The body of the former prime minister was due to arrive in Trinidad Wednesday night from Florida as the country prepares for a State funeral for the 90-year-old politician, attorney, actor and trade unionist.
The Trinidadian Government has already ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast and that a State funeral will be held for Panday, who served as the country’s fifth prime minister from 1995 to 2001.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that the Panday family has accepted the Government’s offer of a State funeral, which will be the first to be conducted under Hindu rites.