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...Compensation for victims

By Camille Bethel

 The Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup has recommended that Government consider compensating hostages and victims (or their survivors).

Chapter 11 of the report which was tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last week, stated that those who suffered injuries or relatives died during the attempted coup should be given monetary awards while others who may not have suffered injuries but are deserving of recognition be given special awards. 

“The Commission respectfully recommends that a small, special unit be created to ferret out and investigate credible information concerning all innocent victims of the attempted coup. The Unit should be headed by an attorney-at-law and include investigators. There should be categorisation of the victims; for example, those who died; those who were injured and still suffer the effects thereof; those who were injured but have made a complete recovery; those who received compensation and those who received no compensation. 

“The Government should fix a limit for the amount of compensation for each category of victim after a preliminary report has been submitted to the Cabinet. Thereafter, the Unit should be authorised to make appropriate awards according to the respective categories,” the report stated. 

The report recommended that Leslie Marcel who continues to suffer pain, loss of amenities and financial loss as a result of his injuries be given a non-monetary award, that Sgt Raymond Julien also receive a compensation for his injuries and an award for meritorious service.

While Sgt Steve Maurice, Cpl Charles and PC Dave Pilgrim, members of Prime Minister Robinson’s security detail, who were beaten and humiliated by the Jamaat deserve monetary compensation and an award for the bravery shown in the face of sudden and unexpected hostilities. 

“Their colleague, PC Kenrick Thong did receive compensation for his injuries but he still has to bear the cost of changing prostheses. He should be assisted. The case of WPC Olive Ward requires further investigation to determine whether she should receive monetary compensation. ASP Roger George was killed in the precincts of Parliament on the evening of 27 July. No member of his family appeared before the Commission. We therefore do not know whether his family received any compensation. The same comments apply to the family of SRP Solomon McLeod,” the report pointed out.

The report also went on to suggest that Government mint a special medal to be awarded to persons who gave exceptional service or displayed bravery during and immediately after the attempted coup but have not previously been recognised appro priately. 

“In this regard, the Commission recommends for favourable consideration the following persons and organisations:

• Dr. Emanuel Hosein 

• Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall and the Coast Guard 

• Mr. Jones P. Madeira 

• Mr. Dennis McComie and the five persons who kept Radio 610 

on air during the insurrection 

• The hostages at the Red House and at TTT  

• Canon Knolly Clarke 

• Hon. Winston Dookeran 

• Mr. Emmanuel Carter 

• The Cadet Corps 

• Mr. Alloy Lequay 

• Dr. Romesh Mootoo 

• Mr. Tim Lambkin 

• Mr. Jensen Fox 

• Mr. Mervyn Telfer 

• Water and Sewerage Authority 

• Trinidad & Tobago Electricity Commission  

• Morvant/Laventille Improvement Organisation

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