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Franklin Khan at a function with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Minister Kazim Hosein.

Energy Minister Senator Franklin Khan appeared to be in good spirits last night and did not complain of feeling unwell in a telephone conversation with Rural Development and Local Government Minister, Kazim Hosein.

Hosein said he contacted his parliamentary colleague at around 10pm on Friday.

“He missed the call and about 15 minutes later he called me back. We spoke for a while and he was in good spirits. I was thinking about him and I decided to call and say hello. I am shocked to learn of his passing this morning,” he told the Express.

In 2016, Hosein replaced Khan as Minister of Rural Development and Local Government. Khan was appointed Minister of Energy and Energy Industries.

Hosein said, “He was a knowledgeable man. He had a wealth of knowledge and I would turn to him for advice. He was a mentor and role model to me and many others as a visionary. Service to Mankind is Service to God. He died while serving his country.”

The Express was told by sources in the Peoples'a National Movement (PNM) that Khan was among parliamentarians who received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine last Tuesday.

He did not attend last Tuesday's sitting of the Senate.

Khan, however, attended the government’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday and contributed to the discussions, the Express was told.

Khan passed away at his home on Saturday morning.

He leaves to mourn wife Laura, and two children.

In an immediate response, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley extended his deepest condolences to Khan’s family.

The Prime Minister said he was “extremely saddened by the passing of his colleague and friend” who will be remembered as a man who dedicated his life to public service.

He said Khan was a patriot and son of the soil.

Government ministers, Members of Parliament and members of the Opposition also extended condolences to Khan’s family.

Khan was being treated for years for heart disease.

In late 2016, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young denied reports that Khan had a heart attack while on vacation in Thailand.

Young did confirm, however, that Minister Khan was hospitalised. He said it was due to a viral infection leading to excess fluid in his lungs.

In February 2017, Khan took leave after having a procedure done for heart-related issues.

Khan had the procedure done shortly after his return to T&T from Thailand.

The Government said then that Khan’s surgery was successful and he would remain on leave while he recuperated.

In April 2020 he underwent another medical procedure.

Khan is originally from Guayaguayare, a village on Trinidad's east coast.

He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Ortoire/Mayaro in 2002. He was then appointed Minister of Works and Transport, a position which he held until May 2005.

Following the 2015 general election, Franklin Khan was appointed to the Senate as a member of the 11th Parliament.

Franklin Khan was a Petroleum Geologist by profession, having spent twenty years in the energy sector both locally and abroad in a wide range of positions both at the technical and managerial levels.

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Pandemic tears.

Both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday confessed to being reduced to tears in the face of their “disappointment” over “the response of the national community to pandemic restrictions” and the tragic consequences that flow from it.

The Government deepened and tightened its containment measures from midnight last night, announcing that with the exception of essential services the country goes into extended lockdown until May 23.

The Covid-19 death toll jumped again yesterday, with five added deaths being reported by the Ministry of Health.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 196.

The latest deaths included one elderly male and one middle-age male, both with co-morbidities; as well as two middle-age males and one middle-age female, without co-morbidities.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the Government to engage all stakeholders to form a united front to fight Covid-19.

“This is a time for humility and not a time for arrogance. The UNC and many stakeholders have been trying to assist since the beginning of this crisis, but the Government has pursued its own way,” Persad-Bissessar stated in a news release yesterday.

NATIONAL flags across the country will be flying at half-mast today as former minister of energy and energy industries Franklin Khan is laid to rest.

Khan’s funeral will be held from 10 a.m. at Aramalaya Presbyterian Church in Tunapuna, with only ten people at the service in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.

A gift of 100,000 vaccines from China will make its way to Trinidad and Tobago from next week, says Health Minister Terrence Deyal­singh.

He added that some 33,600 AstraZeneca vaccines will also be arriving at Piarco on Monday from the COVAX facility.

Speaking yesterday at the Prime Minister’s news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Deyalsingh noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given approval to the Sino­pharm vaccine for emergency use.