Justice Lucky: Panday a friend to the end

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Anthony Lucky –

JUSTICE Anthony Lucky was not as fortunate as his name suggests when it came to garnering the support of the late Basdeo Panday to be this country’s third president.

Yet Lucky deemed the former prime minister a friend to the very end.

In 1997, Lucky was nominated by the People’s National Movement (PNM) as its candidate for president.

Then in Opposition, the PNM didn’t support the United National Congress’s (UNC) nominee, former prime minister the late Arthur Napoleon Robinson. Robinson was elected the third president of TT.

At the time Lucky was still a sitting high court judge.

Lucky was among those paying tribute at a remembrance ceremony organised by their alma mater, Presentation College, San Fernando, for the college’s oldest past student last Thursday.

Lucky said Panday was a remarkable individual, a fearless leader and an astute politician who used his ability to navigate the complex world of politics with wisdom and insight, and who ventured where angels feared to tread.

“Basdeo Panday possessed the characteristic traits to beat a lion in a fight, metaphorically speaking. Although if Bas ever fought in real life with a lion, I would bet on Bas.”

Throughout his career, as an actor, politician, trade unionist, lawyer, opposition leader and prime minister, Lucky said, Panday demonstrated keen intellect and a profound commitment to his ideals.

“He was a man who tirelessly fought for justice, equity and the betterment of his nation.”

He said Panday’s constant call for constitutional reform in order to achieve the best democracy and greatest social justice will continue for ages to come.

Lucky spoke of his confidence in meeting challenging decisions head-on, and his compassion in fearlessly standing up for the marginalised and disenfranchised. Panday’s courage in the face of adversity, he said, inspired both allies and adversaries.

In a virtual message, former PNM senator and public utilities minister and now executive director at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington Robert Le Hunte said Panday’s impact was larger than life itself.

Le Hunte said Panday created an illusion that he would be around forever, and that January 1 was a stark reminder that no one is exempt from the passing of time.

“His journey encapsulated the struggles faced by many Afro- and Indo-Trinbagonians during the post-colonial era. He had a very colourful history in the politics of TT.

“While not without flaws, he possessed admirable qualities that left a lasting impression. Despite his numerous accomplishments, he remained grounded, with an innate ability to interact effortlessly and effectively with both royalty and the common man.

“Mr Panday has indelibly etched his place in the hearts and minds of many Trinidadians and Tobagonians. He toiled ceaselessly to uplift the country’s workers and by extension the common man’s standard of living. His impact remains a guiding light for those influenced by his dedication and efforts.

“May his soul rest in peace.”