Panday’s Legacy Will Live On

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

BASDEO Panday, the nation’s fifth prime minister has done more for the country than most and will leave a lasting legacy. 

Executive Director of Citizens Union of Trinidad and Tobago Phillip Alexander in a tribute to the man fondly known as “Silver Fox” said he had a long innings, some well played, some persons would rather forget but in the end his legacy outgrew even him.

Alexander spoke of his personal experiences with the man who would become the first national of East Indian descent to become prime minister. 

He said, “The experiences that I have had with him have all been cordial and even respectful. Few know how to own a room like he did and I dare say it was his superpower, whether it was sitting for a two-person interview like he did with me and which I promise to rerelease only because it shows how open he was prepared to be on sensitive issues or commanding the Parliament.” 

Phillip Edward Alexander

Alexander added, “History counts for nothing in a land where public office is as corrupt and as evil as it is here and he was more forthcoming on that for the entirety of his career than any other before or since, and I dare say he certainly was not the worst of them.” 

He also said the East Indian community owes a lot to former union leader for their development.

“The greatest debt owed to him would be by the East Indian community consigned to be a recalcitrant minority by others, who he emancipated by his struggle and took them from permanent opposition and second class citizens to the highest office in the land,” Alexander said. 

While Panday suffered a lot of contention, it made him more personable he said. 

Alexander ended his tribute by saying, “Bas was many things as we all are, but in the end if you are remembered fondly through all those vicissitudes and bad weather then one can say well done. Go on to your just reward Silver Fox. For better or worse you did more than most and that is my takeaway if I were to say anything at all. Rest in peace.” 

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