A grateful nation says farewell to Basdeo Panday

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

HONOURED: Defence Force officers in a solemn march towards Mosquito Creek and the Shore of Peace, where the body of former prime minister Basdeo Panday was cremated according to Hindu rites on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JEFF MAYERS – Jeff K Mayers

Trinidad and Tobago’s fifth prime minister Basdeo Panday had his final send-off on January 9. Hundreds of mourners gathered along the Rienzi Kirton Highway in San Fernando as his body was given a military escort to the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) for a state funeral.

The overall mood was a sombre one as members of the Defence Force military band played.

After the funeral, Panday’s body was transported to the Shore of Peace cremation site for final rites. Emotions ran high as members of the public recalled fond memories of Panday’s life. The public’s light-spiritedness changed drastically as the pyre was lit by members of his family and the reality hit home that this was the last time they would be seeing Panday.

Even in death, Panday still made history, as his send-off was the first state funeral held under Hindu rites.

GOODBYE AND THANK YOU: Flames leap into the air as the pyre and the body of former prime minister Basdeo Panday are cremated at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek on Tuesday. Photo by Jeff K Mayers

I LOVE YOU, BROTHER: Subhas Panday cries as he is about to light the pyre for the cremation of his brother, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek on Tuesday. Photo by Jeff K Mayers

HE AIN’T HEAVY: Mickela Panday carries the coffin of her father, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek, for his cremation on Tuesday. – Photo by Jeff K Mayers

DEAR GRANDPA: Eva Cameron speaks about her grandfather, former prime minister Basdeo Panday, during his funeral on Tuesday at SAPA in San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Pannist Adriana Achaiber performs during the funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Tuesday at SAPA. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

PRAYERS: Former UNC government minister Imam Dr Hamza Rafeeq prays at the funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Tuesday at SAPA. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar gestures as she arrives at the funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday at SAPA on Tuesday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Former president Paula-Mae Weekes arrives at SAPA for the funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Tuesday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

BY ANY MEANS: Former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira climbs over a railing to enter SAPA. She was followed over the railing by former senate president Timothy Hamel-Smith, far right. The two were not on the list of those invited to the funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

EX-COLLEAGUE: Former UNC government minister Carlos John, centre, interacts with people outside SAPA before the state funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday on Tuesday. – Photo by Roger Jacob

TEARY: Mickela Panday is supported by her sisters during an emotional moment as she reads the eulogy for their father Basdeo Panday at SAPA on Tuesday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

LAST JOURNEY: The flag-draped casket of former prime minister Basdeo Panday is carried by members of the Defence Force into SAPA on Tuesday for his funeral. – Photo by Roger Jacob