Former prime minister and founder of the United National Congress (UNC), Basdeo Panday, yesterday refused to apologise for speaking about the "injustice" meted out to his long-time friend, Kelvin Ramnath, at his funeral service.
Panday has been criticised by many, and praised by some, for the acerbic comments he made at Ramnath's funeral service at the Arunodai Presbyterian Church, Balmain, Couva, on Wednesday.
Ramnath's wife, Deborah, immediately described Panday's statements as distasteful.
However, Panday said in a telephone interview yesterday, "There is one thing they are not criticising. It is that every word I said was true. They are saying I shouldn't have said it there. But there is not a better occasion to speak about the injustice Kelvin suffered than at his funeral."
Panday, who was among the speakers listed to pay tribute to Ramnath, caused a stir among the mourners when he described UNC members as hypocrites and parasites.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley, and several Government ministers were among the mourners.
Panday said he was displeased by the glowing tributes paid to Ramnath, following his death, by the same people who rejected him during the 2010 general elections.
"I thought there was no better time than (Ramnath's) funeral when he was on earth with us for the last time," he said.
Panday said parents should set an example for their children, to always speak the truth.
"We should always speak the truth, no matter what the circumstances and consequences. And not tolerate hypocrisy," he said.
Persad-Bissessar did not respond to Panday's accusations when she addressed mourners at the funeral. However, several UNC members have described Panday as disgraceful and undignified.
Ramnath, chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), suffered a heart attack and died at the Augustus Long Hospital, Pointe-a-Pierre, last Saturday.
He was 63 years old.