As a trade unionist fighting for the rights of poor cane workers, Basdeo Panday in 1994, one year short of being sworn in as the country's first Indian Prime Minister, spoke out against the drug lords, who he said were working in collusion with the "parasitic oligarchy" and the "corrupt PNM government." Leading up to the 1995 general election, Panday continued his parasitic oligarchy campaign, saying that they continued to control the financial institutions and to hold political sway over the government. He said the oligarchy was not necessarily French Creoles, but Africans and East Indians who held economic power.
"Sometimes, they think they are white, and because of that they hold sway in the country," the former UNC leader added. Indeed, the black managerial class only had office, but the parasitic oligarchy had the power, he claimed. "What I am trying to say is that every five years the black masses win the elections, but the oligarchy wins the government." After his defeat in the party's internal elections last month, Panday evaded reporters outside Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court, when he reappeared before a magistrate charged with failing to declare his London bank account to the Integrity Commission.
Facing bribery charges
Panday faces three charges of failing to declare his Natwest London bank account to the Integrity Commission for the years 1997, 1998 and 1999.
This matter has been adjourned. Also last month, the bribery case brought against Panday, his wife Oma and businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Carlos John, was put on hold, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal on a judicial review claim that the presiding magistrate was biased. The State alleged that the Pandays had received $250,000 on December 30, 1998, from John and Galbaransingh, in exchange for giving Northern Construction a contract for a Piarco Airport development project. Panday is also the first former prime minister to be jailed for several days at the Maximum State Prison in Golden Grove, Arouca, in June, 2005, after he was refused bail on a charge of corruptly receiving a �25,000 reward from Carlos John and Ishwar Galbaransingh.