Basdeo Panday’s forays into electoral politics have been few and far between since January 2010 when he was defeated by his former political protégé, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in United National Congress’ (UNC) internal polls.
Since then, Mr Panday has become increasingly estranged from the party he founded and then led for the better part of two decades. In fact, he has been a very vociferous critic of the party and its leadership and appeared to be settling into the position of elder statesman, maintaining a distance from the cut and thrust of party politics.
When his daughter and political heir apparent, Mickela Panday, launched her new political party, Patriotic Front (PF), just over a year ago, Mr Panday was present to support her, but from the sidelines. Not much was said then about how he would be involved in the party.
But as many of his political rivals have learned the hard way over the years, never count Mr Panday out. At the grand old age of 87, he is once again stepping into the political fray as the PF gears up to contest the 2020 general elections.
Although he is not offering himself as a candidate, expect his presence to be felt on the campaign trail in his role as party adviser.
As much as Mr Panday might want the spotlight to stay on his daughter, the depth and calibre of his experience are what will attract interest and attention as the party makes its electoral debut.
This is the fourth time Mr Panday has been involved in establishing a political party, dating back to 1976 with the United Labour Front (ULF), National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) a decade later and then the UNC.
There will be a great deal of interest in how h experience as a prime minister and opposition leader will be put toward developing the PF into a third force that can snatch political ground from the PNM and the UNC.
Another point of interest will be whether Ms Panday can step out of her father’s rather large shadow and hold her own, beating the odds to lead her party to victory in the upcoming polls.
Ms Panday, who bears a striking resemblance to her father, particularly in her mannerisms, is no political neophyte. As the only one of his four daughters to follow him into politics, she gained some experience as the Oropouche West MP from 2007 to 2010.
Now, however, she has much bigger shoes to fill, carrying forward the Panday political legacy, and upsetting the balance of power.
One of her party’s stated missions is to put the country first through unity, something that eluded her father.
Still, it is good to see the man fondly known as the Silver Fox back on the hustings. Expect a good fight. After all, this is the man who once famously said: “If you see me and a lion fighting, feel sorry for the lion.”