Subhas: Panday would have beckoned Karen

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira climbing over a railing at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) compound on Tuesday to attend the state funeral of former prime minister Basdeo Panday. –

FORMER prime minister the late Basdeo Panday would have keenly beckoned former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira to attend his funeral if he could, his brother Subhas Panday told Newsday on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Panday was given a send-off by a state funeral at SAPA, San Fernando, followed by cremation at the Shore of Peace.

One of the unintentionally memorable moments on Tuesday was when Nunez-Tesheira and former Senate president Timothy Hamel-Smith were photographed and recorded clambering over a security barrier to try to access the funeral service.

This resulted in a flood of humorous memes on social media, plus a later upbraiding of the duo by Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne.

However, Subhas Panday took a very light-hearted view of the affair and the resulting memes and reckoned his brother would have done likewise.

“My view is, Basdeo had a colourful life and a colourful funeral.

“I am certain he would have said, ‘Karen, Come girl! Come, girl!

“‘Don’t care about anything! You come girl!’, being the people’s man he was.”

Subhas said Panday would have said, “‘No, no, no! Don’t put out anybody. Come, honey! Come, come, come, darling! I’m here!

“He would never have objected. He was a people’s man. He loved people around him.

“With his wit, he would have said, ‘Come quickly! Is that Karen? Come quickly! Come, honey! I welcome you.’

“In his honour, I think his family knew who he was and would not have objected to whatever happened at his funeral.”

Subhas said the family thought Nunez-Tesheira and Hamel-Smith had been genuinely interested in the funeral.

“We are happy so many people came out and showed their love for him.”

Subhas was amused by the memes people had posted online.

He quoted one, saying, “Women run him down in life, and even in death, they running him down.”

Subhas said Panday would have found the episode funny.

“I’m certain he would not have been annoyed.”

Subhas said Panday’s status as a people person had drawn many expressions of condolences plus attendance at the funeral from PNM politicians, including ministers.

“I think that demonstrates the true life that he lived and that even in his death people were willing to come.”

On Tuesday, Nunez-Tesheira told Newsday the celebration of Panday’s life had been well put together in a short time.

“One cannot complain.”

However, she lamented the earlier incident involving herself and Hamel-Smith, a former Senate president who had once served as acting president of the republic.

“I didn’t think he was treated with the respect that he should have been – but that is beside the point – having to appear to be jumping over fences.

“But anyway, that is not the point. I thought it was well done, well executed, and I thought respect and regard was shown to him (Panday) as a former prime minister, for whom I also had regard even if you are on the opposite sides.”