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International News: Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday laid to rest; CARICOM pays tribute

Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2024. 9:43 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A state funeral was held this morning in San Fernando, southern Trinidad and Tobago, for former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, who was reported dead on New Year’s Day by his family in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.A.

Panday, the first Trinidadian of Indian descent to serve as Prime Minister, was a towering figure in Trinidad politics, leading a major trade union and practicing law before entering politics. After years in opposition, he twice served as Prime Minister, only to run into accusations of corruption from members of his own party and the wider Government that would end his time in office. He had been plotting a political comeback under a new party started by his daughter, a former member of Parliament.

The Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) tribute was delivered by Elizabeth Solomon, Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate of Foreign Policy and Community Relations, at the State Funeral service.

Panday is remembered in CARICOM circles for leading the push in 1999 to have his native Trinidad serve as the seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the offices of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC), although Trinidad itself only partially subscribes to the CCJ. He also helped carve out an official recognition for members of the Parliamentary Opposition across the Caribbean.

ASG Solomon stated, “In a long and distinguished career, this multi-faceted personality persevered in pursuit of his goals and in so doing empowered many to achieve theirs. Basdeo Panday was truly a man who walked with monarchs and never lost the common touch. The Caribbean Community acknowledges his immense contribution to the development of the people of his country and the wider Region. We extend our condolences to his family and to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago on the transition of this iconic son of the soil to a higher calling.”

 

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