Trinidad and Tobago has lost a national treasure with the death of Makandal Daaga, former Prime Minister and Political Leader of the UNC and People’s Partnership, Kamla Persad-Bissessar said Monday.
The statement comes following the sad news of Daaga’s passing. Daaga was the founder of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and one of five leaders who signed the Fyzabad Accord leading up to the 2010 General Election which saw the birth of the People’s Partnership.
Daaga was appointed Ambassador Extraordinaire by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration after over four decades in active politics and activism.
According to Persad-Bissessar: “His long contribution dates back to the pre-Independence era, and in 1962 when he formed the Pegasus party, before later forming the NJAC. His journey stands as a monument to service, determination and fortitude.”
Daaga formed the National Joint Action Committee, in response to discrimination against Caribbean students at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia), in Montreal Canada.
Persad-Bissessar said: “When in April 2010 he said, ‘my dreams have come true… never again would you be servants in your own country, this land is yours.’, it was the fulfillment of a long-held vision for a nation that could stand together as one people, above all other differences celebrated by our diversity.”
“He was one of those elders whose advice I always treasured, as one who was already a seasoned veteran by the time I entered politics many years ago.”
“It was, in part, his vision that saw the rise of the People’s Partnership and the Fyzabad Accord which saw the first coalition Government in our history standing strong for its full term.”
The former Prime Minister stated: “One of his most timeless philosophies was ‘the people is the Government’, which was the talk he walked in his long march to political power, and in his time as Ambassador Extraordinaire.”
“What it meant to me was that true power resides in the men, women and young people whose lives we influence when we hold power, and therefore a vision for the future and mode of Government must come from those very people,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“As a pioneering politician, a social activist, a political elder and a Statesman, his forthright wisdom and boundless energy will be missed, and will never be forgotten. His fight was for the people, and in his life time, he was able to win power and indeed, did all he could to govern for the people. We are deeply saddened and send our hope for his family for God’s hand in this time of tragedy.”
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition