Panday’s body returns home

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Defence Force members carry the body of former prime minister, the late Basdeo Panday which arrived on a CAL aircraft from the US at Piarco International Airport on January 3. – Government Information Division

AT about 7 pm on Wednesday, a CAL flight from Florida touched down at Piarco Airport bearing the body of former prime minister the late Basdeo Panday. On board the flight were his widow Oma Panday and daughter Mickela Panday.Panday, 90, died on Monday after surgery in the US.

His brother Subhas Panday earlier told Newsday he was going to Piarco, where he said the Defence Force would oversee the unloading and transport of the body.

As the aluminium casket was unloaded, it was draped with the national flag of Trinidad and Tobago, ahead of what is expected to be a state funeral next Tuesday under Hindu rites.

Defence Force members drape the casket of former prime minister, the late Basdeo Panday, with the national flag of Trinidad and Tobago at Piarco International Airport on January 3. – Photo courtesy the Government Information Division

Panday’s body was conveyed to Dass Funeral Home in San Fernando in a convoy led by a police car with blazing siren and flashing blues lights, exiting the airport’s cargo area.

Several prominent attorneys were spotted at Piarco as part of an intended impromptu welcoming committee, including Kiel Taklalsingh. Cmdr Garvin Heerah was also seen.

In an earlier interview, Subhas said funeral arrangements are still to be determined and venues were being considered, preferably in South Trinidad, among them the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts or the newly refurbished Skinner Park, for Panday’s final farewell.

Mickela Panday (left), Oma Panday and Dr Amery Browne (right) look on while the body of former prime minister, the late Basdeo Panday is moved to a hearse on January 3. – Photo courtesy the Government Information Division

In a Facebook post confirming the body’s return on Wednesday, Mickela Panday also said the family is working on funeral arrangements and will share the details in the coming days.

She wrote, “As we grieve and celebrate the incredible life of our loving husband and father Basdeo Panday, we would like to share that we, along with him, are returning home to TT, the country and people he loves so much…”