My first interview with the Compensation Board


 ” If God is with me, who can be against me?”

My appointment with the Compensation Board for Victims of Violent Crimes was last Monday. I was scheduled to meet my interviewer at 10:00a.m. at the support unit in San Fernando, South Trinidad. The unit is located adjacent to the San Fernando Police Headquarters. I was instructed to walk with all the receipts for the surgeries, blood tests and any other procedures undertaken as a result of the injury. I was also asked to bring along any photographs which may be of assistance in determining the extent of injury.

So on Saturday I cleaned my room. I was able to sort through all of my documents, separating the ones which would prove most relevant to the case. I located all of my clinic cards, all receipts and photographs, as well as the camera with which my mother had captured images of me just after the surgeries. With all of these paraphernalia in hand, I left home at approximately 8:15a.m. on Monday morning. This was to ensure that I had sufficient time to copy all documents, print hard copies of photos from the camera and the flashdrive and to sort all information into two separate folders. I was through by about 9:00a.m. My mum then had to pay a few bills before we proceeded to the appointment.

I approached the area close to 9:50a.m. and because of the high traffic flow, I alighted from the car and walked to the unit. The appointment was estimated to be about one hour long. I was delighted yet a bit disappointed that I did not have to wait on the interviewer. She was already present. I was disappointed because I like to reach early to my appointments. I do not like to keep people waiting on me. However, the lady made it clear that she had also just arrived. We got straight into the interview.

Her first statement was one of apology for having to take me through the ordeal again. I however, had already done my crying at the photocopy center, so I was prepared to handle re-telling the story. She went into details of the evening of the incident using the police report as a guide. Her manner was empathetic, gentle and apologetic. Her voice was soft and angelic, yet confident and intelligent. I instantly felt at ease talking with her. To be honest it was therapeutic for me to be able to go through some of the details again and with an independent, impartial person.

Although she was so kind, she was so skilled as an interviewer that she did not allow emotions to get in the way of her understanding of the whole episode, including the event itself and all the follow up procedures. In fact I was impressed with the way she asked questions which clearly showed how well she grasped the sequence of events. She was able to get from me a clear picture from her perspective of my whole year. She needed to do this as she was the one who would have to prepare the report for presentation to the Board’s members.

I was given a form to take to the National Insurance Board indicating what benefits, if any, would be due to me and if any monies had been paid to date. I was asked to forward soft copies of all photographs to the interviewer for her use in compiling folders for the eight Board members. At the end of the interview, the interviewer took a few photographs of all the scars on my body. I was not embarrassed in any way. This is highly unusual for me but as I said this person made me feel comfortable and she was non-judgmental. It was so refreshing to meet someone who is so well suited for this type of position. To me she was the perfect fit for the job. She was so thorough that the interview lasted more than an hour. I then spoke to the counselor who is stationed at the unit and finally left close to 12 noon.

Some experiences are energy draining. Some are energy building. This was one of those energy builders. I left that office with a wonderfully relaxed feeling. Maybe it was being able to express so many thoughts which I usually leave unsaid. Perhaps it was the gentle spirit of the lady. I am inclined to think it was a combination of the two. The experience was reminiscent of a previous post about angels. Was she also an angel? I would like to think she was.



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