PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 26, CMC – Former prime minister Basdeo Panday is back on the campaign trail more than a decade after bowing out of elective politics and while he is not seeking office, he is serving as the campaign manager for his daughter, Mickela Panday, who has launched her Patriotic Front (PF) party.
“His role at this moment is, he is the campaign manager,” she said, adding he has “enough experience at fighting elections to give us the best advice that we need. The great thing is, he is the campaign manager and when he advises us, he does not do so in the capacity as my father”.
Panday, 87, a former trade unionist and economist, served as prime minister from 1995-2001 after leading his United National Congress (UNC) into power.
But the veteran politician, who was a founding member of the UNC , fell out with the party after losing the party’s internal elections in 2010 to former prime minister and now party leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar.
The PF said it would be contesting all 41 seats in the next general election constitutionally due later this year and the younger Panday, an attorney, said that “what I can tell you, is that I have been approached by a number of people who are interested in being candidates”.
She told reporters a vote for the PF is neither a wasted vote nor one that would split another party’s votes.
Panday said statistics from the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) and the Central Statistical Office (CSO) show that less than half of the electorate votes for either the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) or the UNC.
But she made it clear that while the PF has spoken with other political parties,” we will not be joining with anybody for joining sake”.
She said the time for political coalitions has past and the party will soon disclose its plans to deal with several national issues.
Among persons affiliated with the PF, is former international footballer, Kenwyne Jones, whom Mickela Panday said “is part of our team”.