Panday: I made a joke to Oma in bed over attempted coup

(Trinidad Express) Former prime minister Basdeo Panday has said when he uttered the now infamous words, “Wake me up when it’s over,” he really meant it as joke.

Panday also said he made the public aware of his bedroom business. Contrary to various se ntiments about his laissez-faire attitude, Panday said he had denounced the attempted coup on July 27, 1990.

He made these comments during the resumption of the com­mission of enquiry into the events of the 1990 coup at the Caribbean Court of Justice building, Henry Street, Port of Spain, yes­terday.

Among those present were commissioners Eastlyn McKenzie, Sir Richard Cheltenham, Sir David Simmons, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt and Haffizool Ali Mohammed.

To date, there have been claims by citizens, including Selby Wilson, Raymond Palackdharrysingh, Abu Bakr and members of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, that Panday knew the attempted coup was imminent and had deliberately stayed away from parliamentary proceedings.

Attorney Avory Sinanan posed questions which sought to find valid answers to the “fracture in the democratic process”.

Commenting on the remark, Panday said, “I thought she (Oma) was joking. That remark became known to the public because I told it to the public as a joke. It was a remark made when my wife and I were in our bed. I thought it was funny afterwards. I told the joke in public.

Panday added: “All those people talk about that statement as if they were in my bedroom on the night. This statement became known because I made it public.”

Before the remark entered the public domain, Panday said he had heart surgery in Lon­don, England, and had returned to his home to take his medication and rest. In fact, he had decided to pass on an invitation to the lawyer’s wine and cheese soiree.

Reflecting on the prelude to his comment, Panday said: “During my sleep, my wife kept shaking me and telling me to get up. I took my medication and went to bed. Sometime during my sleep, she kept shaking me and telling me to get up. But she persisted. When I refused, she said: “Wake up. Abu Bakr is taking over the country.”

I thought she was joking, to which I casually replied, “When he finis h, wake me up.”

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