McKinnon's daughters return $10,000 donation to minister

Stabroek News
May 16, 2001

The daughters of the late Water Street vendor Donna McKinnon yesterday morning returned a cheque worth $10,000, which had been presented to one of them on Monday at the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.

McKinnon was shot dead in an empty lot near Freedom House on Robb Street on April 9 where she had gone with her reputed husband to see the fire which gutted a number of buildings in Regent and Robb streets.

McKinnon's eldest daughter, Nicola McKinnon received the cheque on Monday from Minister Bibi Shadick. Nicola had said that the $10,000 would have been used for her twin sisters, who are minors, to help start a business.

Two of the sisters and a brother who have been looking after the late McKinnon's affairs since her demise told Stabroek News that they knew nothing about the ministry's offer and had they known they would have refused it.

The sisters said they did not want a "pittance" for the twins, but tangible help, if government wanted to help them. They said that government had made a commitment to do all that was possible to get justice for their mother.

The two sisters, Shaundelle and Sofina, who spoke with Stabroek News yesterday afternoon said that they first heard about the handing over of the money on television. Their eldest sister Nicole, whom they said they had not seen since their mother's funeral, had not communicated with them about the government's offer. After meeting with Nicole yesterday morning the sisters decided that the best thing to do was to take it back to the minister, whom they said accepted it. Ten thousand dollars in the circumstances surrounding their mother's death, they said, was a "slap in the face".

At present the twins, who are 15 years old, are being cared for by their stepfather and another sister at their mother's house in Tucville. They said that their mother had been a fire victim when she lived at 101 Pike Street, Kitty some years ago and had been given permission to occupy the land in Tucville where she had begun to build her home. If government really wanted to help, the sisters said, it could complete building the house they felt their mother would have finished had she lived.

The sisters said they were interested in the twins getting some kind of training, which would equip them with skills to earn a livelihood. Their sisters, they said, were old enough to help themselves in cooking and washing and cleaning house but that was where it ended. In the past their mother had provided them with everything they needed.