By Monique Washington
Constable Brian Paquette, who was shot more than a week ago in the line of duty, is now “hanging on by a string,” according to his uncle Austin Harris.
Constable Paquette was shot in the leg more than a week ago, remained in the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) for four days and flown to Port of Spain General Hospitalin Trinidad on Monday.
The Dominica-born officer,with roots in St. Kitts, served on the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force for the last eight-to-10 years.
According to police reports, Constable Paquette and a second officer responded to a larceny reported on Prickley Pear Alley, Basseterre. A struggle ensued when the two officers attempted to arrest the suspect.The man allegedly grabbed Constable Paquette’s firearm and a round was discharged. The bullet stuck Paquette in his left leg. It is alleged numerous calls were required before the ambulance was dispatched. Reports indicate Constable Paquette was in critical but stable condition, but the injured officer’s uncle said that it was not true.
On Wednesday, Austin Harris, Constable Paquette’s uncle, spoke exclusively with The Observer and said his nephew is not fine. He said his nephew had his leg amputated, and now his liver is failing.
On Tuesday, Harris was questioned about why his nephew was delayed in St. Kitts, and why he wasn’t flown out sooner. He said on Monday, air ambulance services flew Officer Paquette to Trinidad after he spent four days at JNF.
“I am pissed off,” Harris exclaimed. “My nephew got shot in the line of duty, why wasn’t he transported sooner?”
The uncle told The Observer that Dr. Cameron Wilkinson,who took care of Constable Paquette, suggested that the policeman be flown off island within 24-to-48 hours after he was shot. He needed further medical treatment, but instead sat in the hospital four days, which caused his leg to “rot” and deadly toxins to attack both kidneys which has caused them to begin to fail.
“On Friday, we were told that the air ambulance was cancelled because there wasn’t any insurance,” Harris said. “As a family we decided we would pay for it and hope we would be reimbursed, as described by Mr. Brandy, by the police association. My nephew had gotten worse and wasn’t stable enough to travel on Saturday.”
“My nephew received two rounds of dialysis while he was in St. Kitts,” Harris said.“They flew him out yesterday (Monday) and in a half hour, they will be amputating his entire leg because it has rotted.” Continuing, Harris said his nephew has been under sedation and when he awakes he will have one less limb.
Harris claimed Dr. Wilkinson may have caused the “hold up” in getting his nephew off island.
“He said he had to email his colleagues, and then they had to figure out what hospital would take him, and then they needed to know who would pay for it,” Harris said. “He was shot in the line of duty, his employer is responsible for paying and (ACP) Hilroy Brandy already assured us that paying isn’t an issue.”
Harris confirmed his nephew is not in stable condition.
“My nephew was shot in his leg, the bullet traveled, hit a major artery and came through his groin,” Harris said. “He lost a lot of blood and he had to receive a lot of blood. They have placed him on antibiotics to protect his other organs from the toxins.”
The Observer contacted Dr. Cameron Wilkinson on Wednesday, who declined comment saying, “It is a bad time. I am busy with patients.” The doctor said he would call later, but hung up before taking our phone number.
A high-ranking officer informed The Observer on Wednesday that attempts were made to fly Paquette out since Saturday but he was not stable enough for the flight. They also said that on Monday it took hours after the air ambulance arrived before the officer was stable enough for the two-hour flight to Trinidad.
Harris noted that his nephew will be in Trinidad for some time as he will need to be counselled and receive physical therapy to help him to be mobile.
“I’m just asking that you keep him in your prayers,” Harris said.