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Franklin Khan died on Saturday

Gail Alexander

The funeral of late Energy Minister Franklin Khan will take place on Saturday at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church in Tunapuna, under COVID-19 protocols which will allow only 10 people at the service.

The 10 am funeral will be under official arrangements by the Government and will involve the Defence Force.

The time was confirmed yesterday by Khan’s wife, Laura Sewlal-Khan.

Khan, 63, died on April 17.

An autopsy found that a calcified cyst had blocked blood flow to his heart. He had cardiac issues since 2016.

When Khan died, the capacity allowed for churches was 25 per cent of a location. But subsequent COVID regulations called for the closure of places of worship – only allowing 10 people at weddings, funerals and graveside interments. Yesterday, as the health system reached the “tipping point,” more measures to contain COVID spread were announced, rolling back to regulations which were in place a year ago.

As per arrangements for an official funeral, the Defence Force will escort Khan’s body to the church with all military procedures in place.

Sewlal-Khan said there will be no viewing of the body. She added she was awaiting word on live streaming of the funeral.

Government officials recently told Guardian Media the funeral would be carried on television.

The service will be performed by ministers Anthony Rampersad and Joy Abdool. As such, there will only be room left for eight other people in the church.

Sewlal-Khan and her son and daughter — the latter of whome arrived from overseas and is completing quarantine — will be present. She was unsure if Minister Khan’s beloved grandchildren would attend.

Top Government officials are expected to represent the administration, where Khan served since 2002 and also with the PNM party.

Following the service, Khan’s body will be transported by the Defence Force to Radix Cemetery, Mayaro, where he will be laid to rest following interment under Anglican rites.

Mayaro was Khan’s childhood home. His mother and brother are buried at Radix Cemetery.

Swelal-Khan apologised to all who may have wanted to attend the funeral.

“We’re abiding fully by all regulations. I can’t say I’m comfortable but we have to live with the environment we’re faced with. We understand the constraints,” she said.

“It’s sad time. I understand how others feel not being able to say their goodbyes in their way and I’m truly sorry others won’t be able to say their goodbyes to him. Please bear with us and let’s say a special prayer on Saturday and let Frankie go in peace.”

The PNM, where Khan was chairman for 11 years, has condolence books at party offices in South, Central and Tobago and MPs’ and regional corporation offices. These are open daily. The Senate, where Khan was Government’s Senate leader, paid tribute to him recently. The Lower House, where Khan served as Ortoire-Mayaro MP (2002-05), will pay tribute to him when the House resumes.