Basdeo Panday was born in 1933 in Princess Town. He attended Presentation College where he received a Senior Certificate. He was accepted into Lincoln's Inn in London where he studied Law. He also obtained a degree in Economics from the Universiry of London and a degree in Drama from London School of Dramatic Arts.

Panday returned to Trinidad and Tobago to practice law and entered politics in 1966 as a member of the Workers and Farmers Party. Panday had his roots in the labour movement and was an advisor to trade unions. He became the President of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Worker''s Trade Union in 1973. Panday won the Couva North seat in 1976 as a candidate and leader of the United Labour Front and has represented that constituency ever since.

He has served as the Leader of the Opposition from 1981 - 1986 as a member of the United Labour Front. Panday co-founded the NAR and on their success at the polls in 1986, was appointed the Minister of External Affairs and International Trade. Panday resigned from the NAR and formed Club 88 in 1988, which later became the United National Congress (UNC). Panday was again the Leader of the Opposition from 1990 - 1995. He was elected Prime Minister of the country in a UNC/NAR coalition Government and served from 1995 - 2002. Panday served as Minister of National Security from December 2000 - January 2002.