Government officials: All focus on state funeral

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Basdeo Panday –

GOVERNMENT has not had any discussions with former prime minister Basdeo Panday’s family about any tribute to be bestowed on him posthumously.

Panday, 90, died in the US on January 1.

He went there in mid-December for medical treatment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, senior government officials said, “Our discussions with the family have focused on giving Mr Basdeo Panday a state funeral that is dignified and respectful of his legacy and service.”

After he signed a condolence book at the Red House for Panday, Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne expressed the same view.

Panday’s funeral will take place 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 in South Oropouche.

On Friday, Panday’s body lay in state in the rotunda of the Red House in Port of Spain for people to pay their last respects to him.

On January 8, Panday’s body will lie in state at SAPA.

On Thursday, the Santan Dharma Maha Sabha executive proposed to rename Shiva Boys’ Hindu College, Penal, in Panday’s honour. Maha Sabha legal adviser Dinesh Rambally added that this will happen only if Panday’s family agrees to it.

There is no word as yet as to whether any Caricom leaders will attend Panday’s funeral next week.

Caricom issued a general statement of condolence on his death.

Some regional leaders such as Guyana President Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness made their own statements in praise of Panday.

Ali and Holness may attend the funeral.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves may also be present.

Gonsalves was a close friend of Panday and his immediate successor Patrick Manning, who died in 2016.