The highest of praise, the depths of sadness – and a bouquet of white and pink flowers in remembrance, at the Senate desk of late Energy Minister Franklin Khan.
Government and Independent Senators plus Opposition Senator Wade Mark devoted yesterday’s entire Senate sitting to pay tribute to the man who had led the PNM Government’s team in that Upper House.
Even Opposition members, who boycotted Parliament recently, turned out yesterday. Senators observed a minute’s silence to honour Khan who died suddenly last Saturday morning.
Yesterday, he was hailed as giant in the political and energy sectors– an energy Czar who promoted his Government’s agenda against stiff opposition and a family man whose granddaughter Amelia was the apple of his eye.
Every speaker was shaky with emotion. All wore black, with white floral corsages. All expressed condolences to his family, thanking them for Khan’s contribution to T&T – and all lauded Khan for serving to the “very end.”
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said Khan “always did it right.
“Exemplary in the execution of his duties, flawlessly fulfilling his obligation to the legislature, stoutly defending the Government with political precision all while serving with respect, integrity and great honour.
“He was an outstanding debater whose deliveries set him apart....a master presenter ...His knowledge of T&T’s history was showcased in almost every debate. As leader he understood the need for strong working relationships with both the Independent and Opposition benches. This was evident by the mutual respect shown among all. “
She said he was an Energy Czar. “He had a deep savvy understanding of the industry … understood almost every facet . We in the Cabinet would marvel in his explanations of energy production reports. Frankie could tell you of every rig, every platform and well by name, location, and every discovery. He lived and breathed for the energy sector .”
Gopee-Scoon noted Khan’s last contribution in the Senate ,”His last words ‘let us build T&T’ – a mission for all of us.”
She added Khan was the quintessential team player and gentleman, and was steadfast even in the darkest part of his political career “His smile faltered at times, but he held his head high and remained committed to executing his duties,”
“Frankie loved the people of T&T. He was approachable, listened and always showed great respect regardless of who you are. It must have been his humble unassuming way that really caused him to be loved by so many. Frankie was known for standing in line for doubles or at a roti shop and talking and engaging with others. He was a shining light; always with a smile,”
“That smile was always bigger and brighter when anyone mentioned his family. His lovely wife Laura, kids and grandkids meant the world to him. He loved them to the core of his being.
“Senator Khan’s legacy will forever remain one of hard work, dedication, humility, sincerity, patience and love for our dear country and our people. We are forever better for knowing him... we bid you farewell dear colleague, dear friend, dear brother.”
Loyal to PNM to the end– Mark
UNC Senator Wade Mark said Khan was a quiet unassuming man who promoted and championed the PNM Government’s agenda even in the face of stiff UNC opposition.
“Franklin honed his unique style, particularly his debating skills. Extremely measured but nevertheless forceful in his beliefs and ideas. Franklin Khan was extremely loyal and uncompromising in his promotion of the Government’s agenda which clashed at times with the national interest and the people’s ultimate welfare and well-being.”
“In sanctifying his memory, we will always value his cordial approach to matters raised and discussed, his frankness of thoughts and views and his trademark smile and at times infectious sense of humour.Franklin Khan remained loyal and dedicated to his political views and party right to the very end.”
Richards: A gentleman
Independent Senator Paul Richards said Khan was a country boy at heart, always proud of his country upbringing and the values he had as a result. “A proud son of Mayaro, to rose to the heights of service in T&T.”
His contributions were filled with clear evidence of his training, experience and expertise in the energy sector. Many times lay persons received a front row seat to classes in the hydrocarbon sector And he had the unique gift of that smile….He was a gentlemen who always showed respect and kept his dignity, even in the most trying of political challenges.”
Richards said he often worried about Khan. “When he returned after his recent health challenges, but being the patriot he was he soldiered on, serving his country to the very end. “
“I remember him telling me two years ago when I called early one morning for an interview on some developing energy sector issue, that he promised his wife that mornings was for family unless it was a crisis. He said his family sacrificed a lot on his behalf. “
Love for family: Browne
Foreign Affairs Minister Amery Browne said, “A more balanced rational person you could never find. Not possessed by empty vanities or self-promotion, and never one to utter insults or crude words across the isle, or across the (Parliament) aisles. Frankie was a voice of moderation, calm and sober reflection, reason, and stability and respect.”
Browne noted Khan’s unshakeable love for humanity and for his family.
“He never ever stopped talking about his dear wife Laura, son Kheran and daughter Khara, and the apple of his eye, his darling granddaughter Amelia.”
He said Khan’s wife had asked him to convey Khan’s special love for Tobagonians.
“Frankie loved Tobago and spent as much time there as he could. The people loved him in return.”
“ His dear wife also asked me to tell you the public, and you his colleagues, how disturbed and disgusted he was by the venom that seems to be growing in the hearts of some. By the nasty personal attacks and displays of viciousness and malice.
Poems for Khan
Trade Minister Paula Gopee –Scoon read the Irish Funeral Prayer which she said, “Our boy Frankie would appreciate.
Foreign Affairs Minister Amery Browne quoted Henry Vandyke’s “Time Is…. “ poem. And Independent Senator Hazel Thompson- Ahye presented a poem she composed based on the initials of late Minister Franklin Khan’s name. She recited:
F -Face always wearing his signature smiles
R – Real it was without pretence or gudle
A -Always prepared to contribute to a debate
N - Neither daunted by Opposition or Independent slate
K- Knowledge and mastery of his portfolio’s scope
L -Liquidated the recent no confidence vote
I - Invited to serve he did so with distinction
N - Notwithstanding a challenging heart situation
K- Key to his humble childhood he shared with me
H- How his mother struggled to mind his family
A -Always mindful of his strong Mayaro roots
N -Never failed to serve and never did loot “