NEWS

Panday bows out of politics after 34 years

Mr. Panday has clearly been a flamboyant politician, and there was certainty not a dull moment when he was around

10 Apr 2010, 08:03 PM

By: gop

Mr. Basdeo Panday and probably those around him has decided that he should not file nomination papers to once again become a Member of Parliament, in Trinidad and Tobago.

This might mean the end to Mr. Panday's political career which has claimed some 34 years. Mr. Panday is now 77 years old, but some were expecting him, even as an independent to be an antagonist to Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar who is now leader of the party he started.

The United National Congress (UNC) is the brain-child of Mr. Panday, who started the party in 1988, after a spilt from the NAR.

Basdeo Panday- (born May 25, 1933) was Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2001 and has served as Leader of the Opposition from 1976-1977, 1978-1986, 1989-1995 and 2001-2010.

Mr. Panday 1957 was accepted into Lincoln's Inn, London (Law), the University of London (Economics) and London School of Dramatic Arts (Drama). Whilst in England, Panday worked as a labourer on a building site, a clerk at the London County Council and an electrician in order to sustain himself through University.

Prior to studying and working in London, he worked as a sugar cane weigher for a year at Caroni Ltd., a primary school teacher at Seereram Memorial Vedic, Chaguanas, St Clement Vedic, Barrackpore and as a civil servant at the San Fernando Magistracy, where he took notes for Magistrates Churchill Johnson and former President of Trinidad and Tobago, Noor Hassanali.

He was also an actor and played small parts in several films, most notably " Man in The Middle", with Robert Mitchum. He also performed on the London stage in several plays, one being "The Bird Of Time" in 1961.

In 1973, he joined the Trinidad Island-wide Cane Farmers' Association (TICFA). In 1975, he spent two weeks at the Golden Grove Prison for leading a march with Trade Unionists which was deemed illegal.

He co-founded the National Alliance with A.N.R. Robinson, Lloyd Best to fight the 1981 elections, and later co-founded the National Alliance for Reconstruction with Robinson and Karl Hudson-Phillips.

In 1988, Panday, along with Kelvin Ramnath, John Humphrey and Trevor Sudama were expelled from the party after a disagreement with A.N.R. Robinson.

He then founded the Club for Love, Unity and Brotherhood (CLUB 88) which became the United National Congress (UNC) in 1988.(wikipedia)

Under the leadership of Mr. Panday, the UNC went on to win the 2000 general elections but internal party unrest forced another election in 2001 which resulted in a tie between the UNC and the PNM. President A.N.R. Robinson awarded the PNM the post of Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

In charges against Panday under the integrity in Public Life Act 1987 by Senior Supt Wellington Virgil, head of the Fraud Squad, on September 18, 2002. It was alleged that between the periods April 9, 1999, March 15-22, 2001, Panday knowingly made a false declaration of income and assets, and failed to include money held in a London bank account.

Mr. Panday had appealed the charges, but the then opposition leader in his challenge of the three charges for failing to to declare a London bank account, was ruled against by The Court of Appeal. (Trinidad Guardian 23 April, 2005)

In May of 2005 in the Sunday Guardian, Mr. Panday spoke to UNC faithful not to be bothered by "traitors of the UNC"

Later, again in the Guardian of 15 June, 2005, it is reported that during the UNC's forum at the corner of Jackie Street, and Pasea Road, Tunapuna. Mr. Panday made the comment that the Government (PNM) might have drug lord connections, and and the said drug lords might have been involve in his arrest in order to shut him up.

Mr. Panday has clearly been a flamboyant politician, and there was certainty not a dull moment when he was around. A bibliography if it hasn't been written already should be penned of this man's life.

One thing that can be said of Mr. Panday is that he apparently did not look down racial lines when it came to the running of his government or his party, as persons such as Jack Warner, Carlos John, and Wade Mark were prominent members of the party and not merely "window dressing" since these gentlemen commanded serious standings within the party.

This article speaks a little on the political life of this man Mr. Basdeo Panday, but there was also another side to the man as the husband of Oma Panday who stuck by his side through thick and thin and father of Niala, Mickela, Nicola and Vastala.

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