Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2022. 2:58 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: In a brief interview this afternoon by Zoom, chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Michael Peyrefitte said he “still can’t believe” attorney, former Magistrate, and longtime UDP supporter Herbert Panton has died.
According to Peyrefitte, Panton, 50, was admitted to the hospital late Tuesday night and passed on this morning of unknown complications. “I’m not aware that ‘Herbie’ had any issues, so it came as a complete surprise to me. Like most people who heard it, I could not believe it, and like I said I am at a complete loss… he is with us no more and that is an extremely hard thing for me to fathom,” he told us, adding that the cause of his death is not much of a concern at this point.
Panton’s three passions in life were the law, the UDP, and his wife Tracey Taegar-Panton and their family, not necessarily in that order, as Peyrefitte explained: “In terms of UDP, 5 star general. There was no bigger UDP than Herbert Panton, no bigger supporter of the UDP than Herbert Panton. It is a sad, sad day and his passing is a serious blow to the UDP. That’s all I can say, I’m still in shock, I still can’t believe it, still couldn’t believe it when I first heard it and it’s going to be a huge loss for us. In terms of a brother, I know Herbie always wanted to be a lawyer, he moved mountains to go to law school, he made all the necessary sacrifices, he was a magistrate even, distinguished attorney, and so we have lost not just a colleague but a UDP brother and also a friend.”
Among his contributions to the party are as its Assistant Secretary-General and editor of party organ The Guardian, a reviser of the party’s Constitution and internal rules, and other “innumerable” contributions.
Peyrefitte said Panton’s at times “brutal honesty” was appreciated and welcomed in the party’s interests when it came to party and national issues, and helped prepare the party for the “real opponent.”
Perhaps no one will miss him more than Tracey Taegar-Panton, and Peyrefitte said any thoughts of how it will affect the party’s forthcoming leadership convention are “secondary:” “To be honest with you, that’s not even in my mind right now, and from the other members of the UDP whom I’ve spoken to, nobody has even mentioned that.”
And he needs no guesses as to how the Albert area representative/party leadership candidate and their children feel right now: “This has to be a critical day for them; this has to be a day that is just devastating. And if you know anything about Tracey and Herbert, you know that they were each other’s lives – they were not just husband and wife, they were best of friends; they had each other’s back no matter what and that was a special, special relationship.”
When the time comes for ‘Herbie’s’ going-away service, Peyrefitte concluded, “Herbie will get the maximum amount of love and respect from the UDP. He will get the same maximum love and respect from the UDP that he gave to the UDP,” and there will be a proper memorial in his honor.
Leader of the Opposition and Taegar-Panton’s opponent for leadership, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, issued a brief statement reading: “The Leader of the Opposition joins in mourning the sudden passing of our fellow UDP Herbert Panton. The Opposition extends deepest sympathies to Hon. Tracy Panton and the Panton-Taegar family during this time of grief. We offer our prayers that you find comfort and solace in [the] Lord.”
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