UNC Founder: The Honourable Basdeo Panday
Basdeo Panday is a Trinidadian politician and lawyer who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1995 to 2001. He was born on May 25, 1933, in Princes Town, Trinidad and Tobago.
Panday grew up in a working-class family and attended Naparima College before studying law at the University of London. He returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1961 and worked as a lawyer, representing trade unions and other labor organizations.
In 1976, Panday was elected to the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament as a member of the United Labour Front (ULF) party. He quickly became a prominent opposition figure and advocated for the rights of workers and the poor.
In 1986, Panday formed the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) party, which won a landslide victory in the general elections. He served as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister under the NAR government.
In 1991, Panday formed the United National Congress (UNC) party and became its leader. In 1995, he led the UNC to victory in the general elections and became the first person of Indian descent to be elected Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
During his tenure, Panday implemented several social and economic reforms, including the introduction of a minimum wage and the establishment of the National Insurance Board. He also played an active role in regional and international politics, serving as Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
After leaving office in 2001, Panday remained active in politics and continued to advocate for social justice and economic development in Trinidad and Tobago. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential political figures in the country’s history and remains a respected elder statesman.