By Carlena Knight
Tributes have been pouring in from around the region following the tragic news of the death of Imran Khan of Guyana, who, according to reports, succumbed to Covid-19 on Tuesday.
Khan, who was 43 years old, studied communications at the University of Guyana and the University of the West Indies, and was the Director of Communications in the Opposition Leader’s Office in Guyana.
However, in the early 2000s, Khan was based in Antigua where he worked as the Media Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB); Media Officer for the West Indies Men’s Team; and Manager of Marketing and Communications for Cricket West Indies (CWI). He was also a part of the communication and organising team for the Stanford 2020 cricket tournament.
In a release, CWI President Ricky Skerritt paid tribute to Khan, saying, “Imran Khan is a former senior management employee at Cricket West Indies. He loved cricket and he loved working with the Caribbean cricket media, who all highly regarded him and his work.
“I had the opportunity to work with Imran while I served as West Indies team manager several years ago. I found Imran to be a skillful professional and an effective servant of West Indies cricket.
“He continued to be an ardent team supporter even after he left CWI to return home to his native Guyana. I’ve had the privilege of being in contact with him since; his advice and wisdom were always welcomed. On behalf of everyone at CWI, I wish to send our sincere condolences to his wife and family. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Over the years, Khan was also a frequent guest on Observer radio programmes, namely Observer AM, the Good Morning Jojo sports show and Big Issues.
Yesterday, Good Morning JoJo host, Joseph “Jojo” Apparicio, reflected on the relationship he and Khan shared.
“Imran and I have had our disputes here on the radio but he never, ever took it personally. If I saw him after the show, it was all laughs, it was all in good fun and I truly enjoyed speaking with Imran. He was always very concerned about West Indies cricket, but I really want to extend my condolences of course to the family of the late Imran Khan,” Apparicio said.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director, and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Leon “Kuma” Rodney, who crossed paths with Khan while he was in the country, shared his shock over the news and paid tribute to Khan.
“I am sure that most of us who worked around sports and in the media would have come across Imran when he was working here for quite a while and his passing is some sad times.
“If there is any family for Imran here in Antigua and even in Guyana, our deepest sympathies and to the friends that he would have made here also, which is a lot, a lot of people,” he said.
“You know, Imran got around because of his job and was a professional but still very personable once he took off that communications hat. It is just really shocking.
“We all just have to take this Covid thing serious and see how much we can continue to encourage persons,” Rodney added.
Professional photographer Johnny JnoBaptiste also posted an emotional tribute to his former boss and friend.
“You sent me on my first overseas trip for cricket. You criticised me whenever I was late on the job. I learnt tough lessons from you especially when you didn’t like the shots. I appreciate all the criticisms that you bestowed on me…It made me a better cricket photographer.
“I am thankful for the many, many jobs that you gave me; it not only put money in my pocket but also it taught me invaluable lessons. You were a gentleman and a good husband to Tammy. I reminisce on the times in the press boxes during international cricket.
“You left Antigua but your presence was always felt, even the “likes” on my photos that I post every now and again.
“You will be missed Imran, missed by many in Antigua, the Eastern Caribbean and all the cricketing world. I miss you already Imran Khan. Sleep in peace. Get well quickly Tammy,” JnoBaptiste wrote.
Khan was a patient in the Intensive Care Unit of Guyana’s Covid-19 hospital when he died as a result of acute respiratory failure brought on by the virus.
He had been rushed to the hospital days after he tested positive for the virus on September 15 and from his hospital bed, in his last social media post on Sunday, had offered thanks to the persons who were praying for his recovery.
The former Director of the Department of Public Information was not vaccinated against the virus and had been taking precautions by only participating in virtual meetings, but according to reports, he was forced to leave his home to attend a brief meeting and it is believed that was when he became infected, since it was discovered later on that someone who was seated in the meeting next to him had tested positive for the virus.
In an initial reaction to Khan’s passing, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon said he was “shocked”.
Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, said, “I am devastated. Imran was my friend. He was an extremely talented and brilliant man.”
Khan is survived by his wife, attorney-at-law Tammy Khan, who was discharged from the Covid-19 hospital on Monday after contracting the virus herself. She has been receiving care at home.