CARICOM Pays Tribute to Former Trinidad and Tobago PM Basdeo Panday: Remembering a Legacy of Leadership and Integration

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Trinidad and Tobago’s 5th Prime Minister Basdeo Panday

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has expressed its profound condolences to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago following the passing of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday. Mr. Panday, who served as the nation’s fifth Prime Minister, passed away on January 1, 2024, at the age of 90.

In a heartfelt tribute issued on the day of Mr. Panday’s funeral earlier today, January 9, CARICOM officials joined the people of Trinidad and Tobago in mourning the loss of a significant political figure. The organization highlighted Mr. Panday’s over five-decade-long commitment to improving the lives of his fellow citizens. His relentless efforts as both a politician and a trade unionist in advocating for social and economic equity in Trinidad and Tobago were particularly emphasized.

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Basdeo Panday “lying in state” at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)

CARICOM also recognized Mr. Panday’s substantial contributions to regional integration. Notably, it was under his leadership in 1999 that Trinidad and Tobago signed an Agreement with CARICOM to establish the seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the offices of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC) in the country. This move marked a significant advancement in regional judicial autonomy and integration.

Further, during Mr. Panday’s chairmanship of CARICOM, the organization took a historic step by officially recognizing the Parliamentary Opposition within its structure. This recognition, formalized in the Consensus of Chaguaramas at the Seventh Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in 1999, underscored Mr. Panday’s commitment to democratic principles and inclusive governance.

CARICOM’s tribute poignantly noted that in his long and distinguished career, Mr. Panday was a multifaceted personality who persevered in achieving his goals, thereby empowering many others to achieve theirs. The organization described him as “a man who walked with monarchs and never lost the common touch,” highlighting his ability to relate to and inspire people from all walks of life.

In concluding its tribute, CARICOM acknowledged Mr. Panday’s immense contribution not only to the development of Trinidad and Tobago but also to the broader Caribbean region, underscoring the enduring impact of his leadership and vision.

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