Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber: Panday was a lion tamer

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Basdeo Panday – File photo

THE Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce said former prime minister Basdeo Panday has earned his place among the lions of this world.

The chamber made this statement as it joined the rest of the nation in mourning Panday, 90, who died in the US on January 1.

He went there in mid-December for medical treatment.

In the statement, chamber first vice president Deoraj Mahase said, “He will be fondly remembered for his witty remarks, clenched fist, red beret and his famous lion-fighting statement: “If you see me and a lion fighting, feel sorry for the lion.”

He added, “Mr Panday’s testimony and dedication to this nation surely prove that he wore down the lion and today the lions sit quietly and mourn a formidable foe.”

Panday, Mahase said, “has left an indelible mark in our nation’s history as a former prime minister and leader, lawyer, politician, trade unionist, economist, actor, civil servant and champion of the working class, whose goal for national unity was continuously portrayed in his actions at all levels, working with various organisations and political parties to achieve this vision.”

He added that the people of Couva North, whom he represented in Parliament for 34 years, will forever remember him as a man who gave dedicated service to constituency and country.

Mahase listed some of Panday’s contributions to labour and politics.

“He made invaluable contributions to the labour and political movements, relentlessly serving the people of this country, having started out with the Workers and Farmers Party and then the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers’ Trade Union (formerly All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factory Workers Union) whose headquarters is in Couva.”

Mahase added that in the political arena, Panday will be “remembered as a founding member of the United Labour Front (ULF), National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), CLUB 88 and the UNC.”

A state funeral service for Panday will be held at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando on January 9 from 8.30 am.

He will be cremated afterwards at the Shore of Peace, South Oropouche.