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Two years on, no compensation for cop’s kin

Two years on, no compensation for cop’s kin

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The government is yet to compensate the family of Constable Kingsley John, the Special Services Unit officer who died of a gunshot at the Biabou Police Station on August 7, 2010.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves had told Parliament on August 30, 2010 that John’s family would be compensated.

“The breadwinner is gone, there are practical matters to be dealt with,” he told lawmakers then.

But he said at a press conference Monday, the compensation was still pending.

“Nothing has taken place, to the best of my knowledge on that,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

Gonsalves noted that another police officer is charged in relation to John’s death.

“I don’t know if the honourable Attorney General is waiting until the outcome,” he said.

He said while he was not getting involved in the criminal case, “… whatever culpability there may be in any issue on the civil side, I would think that the Government would have to come into play somewhere”.

Absence from funeral

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, further commented on his non-attendance at John’s funeral in Georgetown two years ago.

“Incidentally, I mean I didn’t speak about this. But I remember there was a story that I didn’t attend the funeral of the deceased police officer.

“Nobody knew what is my relationship between the deceased’s mother and father,” said Gonsalves, who is also the area representative for Georgetown.

“On the Saturday when [there] was the funeral, I would not have been around to go to the funeral,” said Gonsalves, who was in St Vincent on the day of the funeral.

He said he ensured that North Windward Representative Montgomery Daniel and Commissioner of Police Keith Miller attended the military funeral.

“But, on the Friday afternoon, Eloise and I went to visit the family of the deceased,” he said, referring to his wife.

Gonsalves said he gave John’s mother a wrist chain with the saints of Christ that he wore.

“Nobody called me to ask me anything, but they would say I was not there. You understand me. And that’s a mark against me. But it’s not everything, I can respond to you. You understand me. But you raise it, so I respond to it,” he further said, in response to the reporter’s question.

But SEARCHLIGHT did contact Gonsalves two years ago, for a comment about his absence from the funeral.

His office had said he was unavailable to speak on the phone when SEARCHLIGHT telephoned him on August 23, 2010, two days after John was buried.

Gonsalves returned the call later that day, after press time.

SEARCHLIGHT, in one of its stories about the funeral, noted Gonsalves’ absence.

Gonsalves, in the August 23, 2010 telephone response to a question regarding why he was not at the funeral, said:

“I will tell you this: one of the most debilitating things in the Caribbean today is for people to distinguish between what is important and what is not important.

“You would want to ask me why I wasn’t there, but you don’t want to find out what is my relationship with the family. Had I visited them; what transpired?” the prime minister told SEARCHLIGHT two years ago.

“… but for you, it is a simple matter of covering a story. You don’t have to deal with the anguish. It is alright man,” he further said.(kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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