TRINIDAD – $1m for cop’s family
Government to pay relatives of slain officer
PORT OF SPAIN –– Relatives of Police Constable Sherman Maynard who was shot dead during the daring daylight jailbreak by three prisoners from the remand yard in Port of Spain on July 24 will receive $1 million in compensation from government.
They will be the first beneficiaries of this scheme which provides such an award to the families of police officers slain in the line of duty.
Yesterday, Minister of National Security Retired Brigadier General Karl Alfonso told Newsday, following Maynard’s death, he spoke with Minister of Finance Larry Howai, as well as Deputy Police Commissioner Glen Hackett, and a decision was taken to release the payment to the officer’s relatives before the end of the week.
Alfonso told Newsday yesterday: “I expect the release of the moneys before the end of the week because this was a promise made by government and we intend to fulfil this.”
Although with slightly different timelines for the payment, further confirmation of this came yesterday from officials at the Ministry of Finance and the Economy in response to questions from Newsday. The officials said: “The Ministry of Finance and the Economy is currently processing the paperwork to be able to pay the $1 million to the family of slain PC Maynard. PC Maynard’s family can expect to receive the funds by the end of the week or, for the latest, early next week.”
According to Alfonso, he expects the process to be carried out without any difficulties.
Alfonso is among the many state officials, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who visited Maynard’s relatives following his death.
Maynard’s mother Octavia Abraham-Maynard had not yet been told officially of the payment, but she is hoping that it will materialize. Contacted late yesterday, the slain officer’s mother told Newsday she was not aware of any such payment to be made to her but she remained hopeful about the matter.
She said if and when she received the money she would make a statement on the matter, but in the meantime she continues to mourn her son to whom she was extremely close.
And while happy about the development, the Police Social and Welfare Association wants proper documented policies put in place to guide the process from now on.
On September 8, 2014, Minister of Finance Larry Howai announced that government had accepted the proposal from the Police Social and Welfare Association to pay $1 million to relatives of any member of the Protective Services killed in the line of duty.
The National Security Officers Foundation was then launched to facilitate such payments but up until the death of Maynard it appeared that nothing had been put in place to compensate families of slain officers.
This prompted president of the Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) Inspector Anand Ramesar to question why no arrangements had been put in place, and he called on government to honour its promise and fulfil its obligations to the families of hard-working police officers who continue to serve this country, even risking their lives in the process.
Last week, during a Press briefing at Besson Street Police Station in Port of Spain, Rasmesar lamented there was nothing in place to ensure compensation to the families of officers killed during service to their country.
He revealed then that this was an issue currently engaging the attention of the association.
“It appears from all our enquiries systems have not been put in place,” Ramesar complained last week. “We have an officer who would have lost his life in tragic circumstances. We were enquiring what the particular compensation to go to the beneficiaries was.”
Ramesar questioned how one could differentiate circumstances when there were simple needs to be addressed, and not just the mechanisms.
“How do you differentiate from a police officer who has died from a heart attack, as opposed to a police officer as in the circumstances as PC Maynard?” he asked at that news briefing.
Yesterday, however, Ramesar was elated when informed by Newsday that the $1 million was expected to be paid to Maynard’s relatives.
“I am glad to hear that the matter involving Maynard’s family is to be settled,” he said. “However it cannot be an acceptable practice for the administration of the death benefit
of the $1 million compensation to be absent of proper procedures and a criteria for proper interpretation and guidance.”