National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds says the daughter of prison officer Nigel Jones, who was holding his hand when he was gunned down in Siparia eight days ago, experienced things that no child ought to.
He was speaking at Jones’ funeral service at the Irwin Park Sporting Complex in Siparia on Tuesday, shortly after Jones’ four-year-old daughter Aniyah recited a scripture.
He said, “We saw the event and the reaction of that beautiful baby... I listened to her say a word of scripture and pain fell upon me, as did you because I have a daughter too. I have children too, I have a wife too and I have a family too and only God knows how they feel. The coldness in the presence of that baby to do what they did and then want to use social media campaign with their friends on the outside to convince us what they did was right. We reject that.”
The minister said she saw, heard and possibly smelt things that no child her age should, especially in T&T.
“This is not Lebanon and Syria and the Gaza. This is the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, where we make provisions for our children in homes, schools, teachers, all the way up. This child heard and saw something and experienced feelings that no child should,” he said.
Despite her terrifying ordeal days before, she stood in front of scores of people at Irwin Park and performed a dance next to her father’s casket which tugged at many heartstrings.
Noting that he attended another murdered prison officer’s funeral on Monday, Hinds assured the Prison Service and Prison Commissioner Dennis Pulchan that they were not alone in this fight.
Agreeing with Pulchan that the attacks border on terrorism, he assured every element of the National Security will assist in the fight.
Urging officers not to let their enemy immobilise them with fear, he said a special forces unit has been made available the prison service.
“I am aware that a team has been set up and its sole purpose, 24 hours a day, is to protect the men and women of the prisons service around the country where they live, in conjunction with the police and defence force,” Hinds said.
He assured Jones’ family that they are working on bringing the perpetrators to justice and that they have Government’s support.
However, Pastor Wilma Kelly, of The Way of Holiness, minced no words in her sermon, as she accused the authorities of giving only lip service while prison officers were being killed.
Kelly, who has been working with inmates for over 25 years, lamented that over the year promises have been made to the service but never delivered.
Asking whether it took Jones’ death for them to remember their promises, she lamented, “Lives have been threatened. Lives have been lost. People lost their marriages. People are scared of doing what’s right…Enough is enough! Too much slaughtering, enough is enough.”
However, she said her comments were not directed at Hinds, as he inherited “some stuff over the years.”