August 31, 2010
State to compensate Kingsley John’s family

The government will compensate the family of Constable Kingsley John, 27, the Special Services Unit (SSU) officer killed inside the Biabou Police Station on August 7.{{more}}

“The breadwinner is gone, there are practical matters to be dealt with,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament while making the announcement on Monday, August 30.

Fellow SSU officer, Constable Rohan McDowall, has been charged with John’s murder and two other offenses related to John’s death.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said he had instructed Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan to examine the matter from the standpoint of compensating John’s survivors.

He noted that McDowall is innocent until proven guilty, adding that the Attorney General will examine the matter from a civil standpoint, without prejudicing the criminal proceedings against McDowall.

Gonsalves said he had advised John’s family that it is “perfectly in order” to seek the advice of a lawyer as they enter the compensation discussions with the government.

He said the death of the police officer was “a most painful matter for (him)”, noting that he knows both families.

Gonsalves explained that he was unable to attend John’s funeral on August 21 because of state commitments.

He further said his wife, Eloise Gonsalves, who represents him in a personal capacity, was out of state.

He said the outpouring of sympathy attests to John’s worth and merit to the Police Force, his Georgetown community and his role as a father to his three-month-old son.

“I cannot describe the pain and anguish the parents have suffered. It’s an only son. He was in his prime. He was a splendid example to the young men in his community and in the Police Force. Like his parents, he was a devout Christian,” Gonsalves said.

“To tell you the truth, as Minister of National Security, it has been one of my most difficult moments over the last ten years; because it has been intermixed with all kinds of personal emotions. (KXC)