Panday quits chairmanship in Trinidad

Former PM of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday has resigned from the chairmanship of the Opposition UNC citing failing health.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 17:22 IST

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday has resigned from the chairmanship of the Opposition United National Congress citing failing health.

Panday, who is nursing a heart ailment at his South Trinidad home, made the announcement through his daughter Mikela at a mass political meeting in his former Couva North constituency late on Monday.

The former Prime Minister, who is of Indian-origin, had been active in the social and political field of the country for over 40 years. He was incarcerated for five days last week after being found guilty on three counts for failing to declare his assets to the Integrity Commission.

He was jailed for two years and ordered to pay USD 10,000 in fine.

Last week President George Maxwell Richards revoked his position of Leader of the Opposition, which he held for 27 years, and also a Member of Parliament for Couva North, a constituncy he represented for 30 years.

In 2005, at the Bharitya Pravasi Divas in Mumbai, Panday received the Samaan Award for his contribution to the Indian Diaspora.

He was the chief architect of national unity and he forged a link with the East Indians and Africans, two major ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago.

Panday's exit from electoral politics comes as a surprise to everyone, including top officials of the governing People's National Movement.

First Published: May 02, 2006 17:22 IST