Bodkin was, at the time yesterday officiating at the funeral service for Thomas, held at the Apostle Ministries Church in Longdenville.
Last Monday night, PC Thomas, of Cashew Gardens, Chaguanas was plying his taxi for hire between the Chaguanas/Curepe route when he picked up three male passengers. On nearing Grand Bazaar, one of the men pointed a gun at Thomas and announced a hold-up. Thomas, a report stated, drove his car off the road and exited with the car keys in his hand. He was shot five times in the back as he tried to run away. He collapsed and died. Three suspects were held a short while later by soldiers who witnessed the incident.
In making reference to the salaries of incoming Commissioner of Police (CoP) Dwayne Gibbs and his assistant Ewatski both Canadians, Bodkin said municipal police officers still work for small salaries.
He said, “I am asking myself if it is we can bring a Canadian to pay one hundred and something thousand dollars, why is that municipal police still working for $4,000 and $5,000. If Jason had been properly paid he might not have been working his taxi that hour of the night.” Bodkin received a lusty round of applause from the packed congregation..
But while he said he forgave Jason’s killers, he said he felt sorry for them and their parents.
He said: “I am sorry for the young men who took Jason’s life. I am sorry for the parents of those young men who took his life because they now have to face people who would look at them and say, is your child.”
He warned persons not to cry now that Thomas had died since “some of us had contributed to his death,” as homes no longer taught children moral and spiritual values. Bodkin was however upset with the disrespect shown “by some” who thought he did not deserve to be buried under full military rites.
He said, “I hear people saying that Jason was not a full police, so he should not accept military rites — but he locked up men just like the ordinary police, he put his life on the line just like the ordinary police he left his wife and children at home just like the ordinary police, so what makes him different?”
Yesterday, many of Thomas’s male and female colleagues broke down in tears — they wept uncontrollably even as they offered comfort to his wife Sharon, their two children and other close relatives.
He went on to praise members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Lt Booker, Warrant Officers Andrews, Privates Sylvester, Bookan, Ragoonanan, Baker and Lancaster who “on that fateful day arrested those three men.”
Thomas was not buried under full military rites, but his uniformed colleagues accompanied his body to the nearby cemetery where he was laid to rest.