Basdeo Panday (born 25 May 1933) was the fifth Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2001 and has served as Leader of the Opposition from 1976–1977, 1978–1986, 1989–1995, 2001–2006 and 2007–2010.
Early life and education
Basdeo Panday, was born on 25 May 1933 in a rural village in Princes Town. Panday worked as a cane weigher, primary school teacher and civil servant prior to attending university where he obtained degrees in Law (Lincoln's Inn 1962), Economics (London University - 1965) and Drama (London School of Dramatic Art - 1960).
Panday entered politics in 1966 when he became a member of the Workers and Farmers' Party. He was also advisor to a number of Trade Unions upon starting his private practice as a lawyer and continued his struggle for workers' rights when he became President General of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers' Trade Union (ATS&GWTU) in 1973. He continued to serve in this position until his appointment as Prime Minister.
Panday was one of the founders of the United Labour Front (ULF). He first entered Parliament on 15 September 1972 as an Opposition Senator. Subsequently, he became a Member of the House of Representatives and has represented the constituency of Couva North in the House of Representatives since 1976 and was Leader of the Opposition from 1981-1986, when he was appointed Minister of External Affairs and International Trade in the N.A.R. Government. In 1988 he resigned from the National Alliance for Reconstruction and formed Club 88, which eventually became a new party - the United National Congress. He was appointed Leader of the Opposition for a second time in 1989, appointed Prime Minister in November, 1995 and was appointed Leader of the Opposition for a third time in October 2002.
In 2007, the UNC Alliance lost in the general elections. Panday was appointed Leader of the Opposition for a fourth time in November 2007.
On 24 January 2010 Basdeo Panday lost in his bid to be elected Political Leader of the United National Congress once again. He suffered a defeat at the hands of new Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. He did not contest the post of chairman hence he no longer sits on the executive of the United National Congress. On 25 February 2010 President George Maxwell Richards revoked the appointment of Panday as Leader of the Opposition and replaced him with Persad-Bissessar after the majority of Opposition MPs indicated their support for her. Panday did not participate in the general elections held on 24 May 2010 and hence his term as a Member of Parliament ended.
Panday now serves as the Chief Administrator of the Basdeo Panday Foundation, a charitable organization which is situated in the Reinzi Complex in the town of Couva.
Parliamentary Personalities - Basdeo Panday
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Date of Birth
25 May 1933
Place of Birth
Princes Town, Trinidad and Tobago
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago: 9 November 1995 – 24 December 2001
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