Basdeo Panday, first person of Indian descent to lead Trinidad and Tobago, dies at 90

  • Basdeo Panday, the first person of Indian descent to become the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, has passed away at the age of 90.
  • He died on Monday, surrounded by family, as stated in a social media post by his daughter.
  • Basdeo Panday served as prime minister twice from 1995 to 2001, marking a significant period for the Indo-Trinidadians who lived there.

Basdeo Panday, a former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago who was the first person of Indian descent to hold that position, has died. He was 90.

Panday died on Monday surrounded by his family, according to a statement that his daughter, Mickela Panday, posted on social media.

“He passed with his boots on, keeping everybody around him on their toes with his wit and humor,” she wrote.

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Panday served twice as prime minister from 1995 to 2001 following key elections that marked a turning point for the Indo-Trinidadians who lived on the twin-island nation, whose population is currently 35% East Indian and 34% of African descent.

Basdeo Panday speaks

Basdeo Panday, leader of Trinidad and Tobago’s opposition, addresses a session on Tracing the Roots on the third day of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, or Overseas Indian Day, an annual three-day meeting for Indians living in other countries, in Bombay, India, on Jan. 8, 2005. Panday has died at the age of 90. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)

Panday was a lawyer, economist and union leader who also co-founded three political parties, including United National Congress. He temporarily stepped down as opposition leader of that party after being convicted in 2006 of failing to disclose a bank account in London.

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In 2005, Panday and others were charged with corruption and arrested in a case related to an airport construction contract. The charges were later dropped, with supporters claiming the allegations were political persecution.

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