‘My Way’ Plays as Panday’s Body taken to Red House

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By Prior Beharry

WITH the military band playing My Way, the body of Trinidad and Tobago’s fifth prime minister Basdeo Panday is taken from a gun carriage onto the shoulders of pallbearer soldiers and thence to the Rotunda of the Red House that hosts the nation’s Parliament on Friday morning.

Hundreds saw the military procession from Broadway in Port of Spain to the Abercromby entrance to the Red House that Panday used as a senator from 1973 and then as first MP for Couva North in 1976.


Then more lined the pavement of the Red House to get a glimpse of the body and sign the condolence book.

Panday’s four daughters Niala, Mickela, Nicola, and Vastala were present. Notably absent was his wife Oma.

President Christine Kangaloo hugs Mickela Panday in the Rotunda of the Red House. Photo: T&T Parliament

The founder of the United National Congress (UNC) died on January 1 in Florida where he went to get medical treatment. He will be given a state funeral at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts on Tuesday from 9 am.

His daughters greeted the people waiting to see Panday’s body and Mickela told the media that she was overwhelmed by the loved showed for her father.


In a statement on Friday, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Dr Amery Browne said the body of Panday will lay in honour at the Red House on Friday and at SAPA on Monday from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

Dr Browne said, “Our approach to these proceedings has been to collaborate extremely closely with the Panday family and to respect their wishes at every stage to pay due regard to all Hindu rites and practices and to send off Mr Basdeo Panday in dignity and in honour in keeping with his service and legacy.”

After the funeral at SAPA, the body will be taken to the Shore of Peace at Mosquito Creek for cremation according to Hindu rites.

Mickela Panday passed the coffin of her father with her sister Vastala

President Christine Kangaloo and her husband Kerwyn Garcia also viewed the body and greeted the Pandays at the Rotunda on Friday morning. Garcia also signed the condolence book. President Kangaloo was the first person to do so in keeping with protocol.

People waiting in line to view the body were all in praise for Panday. On elderly woman said he “did his best when he was in office.”

The body of the late Basdeo Panday lay on honour at the Red House on Friday. AZP News/Prior Beharry

Another man said there was no better prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago than Panday.

Mervyn Alexander, 75, who came from Palo Seco, said he left home at 3.30 am. He described Panday as a personal friend. “We belonged to the same fraternity when we entered the coalition with the National Alliance for Reconstruction in 1986.

“I was on the hustings with Theodore Guerra (who ran for) Port of Spain South. I was at Sea Lots at the time.”

Asked why he made trek, Alexander said, “He is one of one of my most admired leaders together with Mr ANR Robinson.”

He said Panday left a legacy battling for the rights of the people and was not afraid to oppose an incumbent government as opposition leader.



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