No one should begrudge Government’s decision to grant an exemption for the daughter of late energy minister Franklin Khan to come home for his funeral.
So said Minister of Communications and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Symon de Nobriga on Friday.
Khan’s daughter Khara is abroad and the family is awaiting her arrival and subsequent quarantine before his funeral arrangements can be finalised.
People have taken to social media to register their anger that Khan’s daughter is being allowed to return, but their relatives were denied such privileges under similar circumstances.
One person wrote, “Franklin Khan’s daughter is getting an exemption to come home for his funeral, meanwhile my brother couldn’t get an exemption to come to my dad’s. This government just favours their friends and family.”
Another took to Facebook to say, “My brother died in December, my sister was in the first ten to apply for an exemption. She is currently still stranded in PNG (Papua New Guinea) with no word from anyone on TT’s side. So yes, it’s unfair that Government ministers and persons of ‘high’ standing get favoured. We all mourn the same way.”
In a phone interview with Newsday on Friday afternoon, De Nobriga said, “I don’t have an official position on that.
“I understand why people would want to go to social media to air those things, but at the same time, Minister Khan was a servant of this country. If the Government could help him, help his family to come back at this time of mourning to celebrate his life, I can’t see how any citizen would have a problem with that.
“Frankie gave yeoman service to this county and nobody should begrudge what is being done for his family.”
De Nobriga said the issue of an official funeral for Khan is before the Cabinet.
He said arrangements are being made in conjunction with Khan’s widow, Laura Sewlal-Khan and his family.
“No official statement is going to be made as yet. The issue of an official funeral is before the Cabinet. However, we are making decisions with Mr Khan’s family and an official statement will come that speaks to location, date and time, next week.”
He noted that he has also read statements attributed to Khan’s widow that a funeral will be held at the Curepe Presbyterian Church, as Khan had adopted her faith after they married, and Radix Cemetery, in his Mayaro hometown, will be his final resting place.
Khan, who was baptised an Anglican, is also expected to be celebrated at the Anglican Church in Mayaro. The funeral cortege will pass through the town for people to pay their last respects.
De Nobriga said, “I don’t want to jump the gun...Obviously, there are logistics to be considered, and the conversation needs to come to an end and then we will make an official statement, having made a decision at Cabinet level.”
Khan, 63, who also served the People’s National Movement (PNM) as its chairman, died peacefully at his Maraval home last Saturday. The cause of his death has been attributed to a heart ailment, ruling out speculation that it was related to the covid19 vaccine he was given three days before he died.