Parliament pays tribute to Basdeo Panday

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former prime minister Basdeo Panday spoke at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) presentation of graduates 2019. – Photo by Sureash Cholai

THE Parliament on Tuesday paid tribute to former prime minister Basdeo Panday.

Panday, 90, died on Monday.

In a joint statement, Speaker of the House of Representatives Bridgid Annisette-George and Senate president Nigel De Freitas extended the Parliament’s condolences to Panday’s family and friends.

They said, “He first entered Parliament as an opposition senator in 1972 and subsequently became a member of the House of Representatives, representing the constituency of Couva North from 1976 to 2010.”

Annisette-George and De Freitas recalled the numerous roles that Panday played when he was an MP.

“During that time, he would serve as leader of the opposition on several occasions, as minister of External Affairs and International Trade in the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government between 1986 and 1988, and eventually as prime minister between 1995 and 2001.”

They said Panday will always be remembered as a gifted debater.

Annisette-George and De Freitas added this was a trait many attributed to Panday’s experience as a theatre practitioner when he was younger.

“The (Parliament’s) Hansard record is replete with examples of his razor-sharp wit edifying and, at times, entertaining an engaged House that included his political allies and opponents alike. “

They said through his career in public life, Panday would always be a “distinguished son of the soil.”