(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) – The following is CARICOM’s tribute delivered by Ms Elizabeth Solomon, Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate of Foreign Policy and Community Relations, at the State Funeral of the Honourable Basdeo Panday, Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) joins the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago in mourning the loss of the country’s fifth Prime Minister, the Honourable Basdeo Panday.
For more than five decades, Mr Panday dedicated himself to improving the lives of his fellow citizens. As a politician and trade unionist, he never wavered in his struggle for social and economic equity in Trinidad and Tobago.
His skill at repartee demonstrated his considerable wit, and his oratory embellished the Parliament and wider political discourse throughout his career.
Mr Panday’s contribution to regional integration is no less significant. It was under his leadership, and with his avid promotion and persuasive arguments that in 1999, Trinidad and Tobago signed an Agreement with the Community establishing the seat of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the offices of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC) in this country. The CCJ continues to provide the Community with the highest level of judicial excellence.
It was under Mr Panday’s chairmanship of the Community that the Parliamentary Opposition was accorded official recognition within the CARICOM structure as recorded in the Consensus of Chaguaramas agreed to at the Seventh Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held there in 1999.In a long and distinguished career, this multi-faceted personality persevered in pursuit of his goals and in so doing empowered many to achieve theirs. Basdeo Panday was truly a man who walked with monarchs and never lost the common touch.
The Caribbean Community acknowledges his immense contribution to the development of the people of his country and the wider Region.
We extend our condolences to his family and to the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago on the transition of this iconic son of the soil to a higher calling.”