Panday’s photo absent from San Fernando condolence book signing

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

SIGNED: San Fernando mayor Robert Parris signs the condolence book opened on Thursday at City Hall in honour of former prime minister Basdeo Panday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

It has been said that a picture speaks a thousand words.

But the one thing that was conspicuously absent on Thursday at the opening of a book of condolence at the San Fernando City Hall was a framed photo of former prime Minister Basdeo Panday.

The book was scheduled to be opened at 1 pm at locations across all municipal corporations. Members of the media and San Fernando City Council officials began gathering at City Hall from 12.30 pm, but the opening of the book was delayed to allow for the photo’s arrival.

Mayor Robert Parris told reporters the requisite ministry sent the condolence book late on Wednesday and without a photograph of the former prime minister to accompany it. In that time, a few members of the public were turned away from signing, because of the photo which – reporters were told by City Hall staff – was still on its way.

After waiting almost 45 minutes, Parris had had enough and ordered the book so that he could enter his signature. Alderman Viliana Ramoutarshingh expressed disappointment over the situation and said it may have been an oversight by the ministry.

“It’s a little disappointing because Mr Panday is a legendary political figure in this country,” Ramoutarsingh said.

Panday’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA). His body will be available for public viewing on Friday at the Red House and on Monday at SAPA. On Thursday afternoon, workers were spotted pressure-washing the yard of SAPA as part of preparations for the state funeral.