The late Franklin Khan who held the position of T&T’s Energy Minister when he passed away in April was a politician, an intellect, a patriot, and a loving husband and father.
These were the sentiments expressed by his political colleagues and family members who paid tribute to him at his funeral service on Saturday.
The funeral service, which was lived streamed on TTT, took place at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna. The service took place as COVID-19 restrictions have been tightened and his family members read the tributes of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and other government ministers who were not physically present.
His widow, Laura Sewlal-Khan had said earlier last week that only ten people would be allowed in the church.
Khan died on April 17 at age 63 and an autopsy found that a calcified cyst had blocked blood flow to his heart. He had cardiac issues since 2016.
Sewlal-Khan read the tribute on behalf of the Prime Minister.
In his tribute, the Prime Minister said Khan contributed significantly to the country’s growth and development but also he was a close friend with whom he shared some of his “brightest and darkest” political moments.
“He represented everything that was the best that T&T could produce. In him, we found a rare combination of wisdom, humility, integrity, love for country and gratitude.”
He noted that Khan’s political career spanned almost 26 years and he served as MP for Mayaro, Minister of Works, Local Government, and Energy.
He also served as the PNM’s chairman on two occasions and he showed party members how to handle defeat and to appreciate victory when it came.
“He led the support for far-reaching changes in the party, which many predicted would neither occur or if they did, certainly not in our life such as the introduction of the one man, one-vote system for internal party election,” the PM stated.
Khan’s son, Kheron Franklin Khan read the tribute on behalf of Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
Imbert recalled that their paths first crossed in 2000 and described his perseverance despite losing the fight for the Ortoire/Mayaro seat two times before finally winning it.
“I am not aware of anyone else who has had the perseverance and stamina to contest a parliamentary seat three times in a row in an effort to capture the seat and to emerge victorious. Frankie was, to me, a special politician.”
Khan’s daughter, Khara Glackin who cried during her personal tribute to him described him as a loving father who was always present during her childhood and adult life.
She returned from the United Kingdon two weeks ago specifically to attend his funeral
“He would move mountains if he could to make us happy. We never wanted for anything. He was the greatest dad,” she recalled in a moving tribute to her father.
His son during his personal tribute remembered when he was in an accident during A-Levels and Khan would visit his hospital bed every day to help feed him.
“Not many would know about my father, the family man. One of the key attributes my dad possessed was patience. I believe having a son like me tested that attribute. I never forgot his advice when I got married, when he advised me that my wife is my family and that I should make her happy.”
CEO of Heritage Petroleum Company Arlene Chow, who delivered the eulogy, described Khan as a patriot from a humble background who never forgot his roots when he went to Jamaica to study.
She said he was proud to represent T&T at international meetings and to meet famous people like Russian President Vladimir Putin among others.
Rev Joy Adbdul-Mohan who was one of the officiating religious ministers at the ceremony said that Khan’s passing was painful to those he loved and for those who loved him.
“My memories of him was not as a politician but as one who attended with his dear wife, Laura, our three-hour Good Friday services in Fyzabad and who sat quietly and worshipped and would then share a meal with everyone at a common table, and speaking not a word of politics.”
After the service, his body was then carried to the Radix cemetery in Mayaro where he was laid to rest.
FINAL SEND OFF
Leaving the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna, under the watchful eyes of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) and the T&T Defence Force (TTDF) around noon, Khan’s body was escorted to the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway as cars carrying relatives began making its way to Mayaro where he was to be buried.
It was very quiet on the outside as there were very few TTPS vehicles and only one TTDF bus on the church compound.
Even though the inclement weather kept most of the service officers inside their vehicles as the funeral service took place in the church, the officers were present to conduct the salute as Khan’s body was brought out and placed in the hearse.
There were spurts of rainfall during the funeral service and after the service ended Khan’s relatives exited the church compound in black, heavily-tinted vehicles under dark clouds.
An elderly couple who attended the service refused to speak as they made their way to their vehicle following the service.
Even though there were no planned stops along the way, a tribute was expected to be done at Mafeking Junction, Mayaro, before the procession headed to the Radix Public Cemetery.