Basdeo panday

FLASHBACK: Former prime minister Basdeo Panday arrives for a reception at Napa following the inauguration of President Christine Kangaloo in March. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Former prime minister Basdeo Panday celebrates his 90th birthday today and he has no intention of being anywhere else in the world, other than his beloved Trinidad and Tobago, with family and friends.

So when his family suggested a celebration in the Maldives or Disney World, Panday declined, saying, “My desire was not to be anywhere else on this my 90th birthday than to be with my family and dear friends whom I have neglected for so many years while I was consumed with politics.”

A religious celebration was held in Panday’s honour at the NCIC Divali Nagar Site, Chaguanas, on Tuesday night, attended by his loved ones and dearest friends.

Panday said during the celebration he was grateful to those responsible for helping him exceed his biblical allotment of three score and ten by 20 years.

And in his usual jovial manner, Panday explained why: “Two former sugar workers were arguing over the reason I lived so long and one said ‘boy somebody up there likes him’. The other one said, ‘boy don’t be stupid, nobody up there likes him...somebody up there know him.”

He continued, “And if he should come up here, the first thing he would do is ask for shorter hours and higher wages for the angels. And if he doesn’t get it, first thing he would do is strike, lock out, go slow. So leave that fella right down there.”

Panday said his wish “before going to the great beyond” would be to spend time with his family and very good friends.

Panday has held the positions of lawyer, politician, trade unionist, economist, actor, and former civil servant who served as the fifth prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2001.

He was the founder of the United National Congress (UNC) and remained political leader until 2010. 


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