“I don’t want give the police any statement”
It has been over 50 days since Pritipaul Jaigobin has been confined to the Burns Care Unit of the Georgetown Hospital following a brutal acid attack by an unknown individual and while the physical agony pain has been excruciating, the emotional pain of being away from his family this long has tested the father of two even more.
Jaigobin is pained to know that his wife has to make the daily journey from their Ann’s Grove, East Coast Demerara, home to the hospital every day apart from the many hours she spends at the institution between visiting hours.
He said that coupled with the daily visits, his wife has to keep the family together and take care of their children, both of whom had to write examinations in the last few weeks, and it cannot be easy for her, emotionally nor physically.
“That is the hardest part of the sickness, being away from home is the hardest part of the sickness. My wife has to come out everyday, everyday she has to come and it is very hard on her,” Jaigobin told Stabroek News in a recent interview from his hospital bed.
If Jaigobin could turn back the hands of time he would not have stopped with his brother-in-law for a drink at a Strathspey, East Coast Demerara bar on May 25, as it was there while he was at the counter about to purchase two beers that someone tapped him on his shoulders and when he turned acid was flung into his face. Screaming in pain he was rushed to the hospital and has remained there since. His attacker reportedly escaped in a white car.
Jaigobin, who is the assistant treasurer of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and the Demerara Cricket Board, had said soon after the incident that he believed the attack was prompted by the fact that he has been very vocal about irregularities within the GCB.
The debate about these matters, he had told Stabroek News from his hospital bed, boiled over at the board’s statutory meeting just prior to the incident.
The man’s allegation has since been supported by others on the divided executive of the board.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony subsequently summoned the executive to a meeting to address some of the concerns.
“After I get through what has happened to me I plan to quit,” Jaigobin had told this newspaper.
In his recent interview Jaigobin said he is still to make a decision on whether his days with the board are over.
“I have to talk to the family because you know when these things happen to you it is not just you that is affected. I mean I have a family to live for and the cricket board thing is a voluntary thing. Over the years, I have been treasurer for how many years for the Demerara Board.
I live in Ann’s Grove. I born and grow there. I work 17 years at President’s College. I does drink every Friday. I lime, I could go BV and drink; I could go Buxton I could go everywhere… and this never happen to me,” Jaigobin said with a sad shake of his head.
“I didn’t see who do it, right, and I leave everything in the hands of God, I even forgive the guy who throw it because the guy who throw it he didn’t even know me, somebody give he a raise [and he did this],” Jaigobin said.
Still very afraid
Jaigobin admitted that he did not give the police a statement when they approached him as according to him he is still very much afraid.
“I don’t want give the police any statement and say I see anybody or I suspect anybody and then I going home a night again and a man kill me this time.”
Closer to God
The victim said also he is yet to decide how to proceed with the matter as this would also be subjected to a discussion with his family but in the meantime he would now become closer to God because if it was not for him he could have been a dead man.
His wife of 18 years in the meantime is insisting that he sever all ties with cricket.
He misses his 11-year-old daughter whom he has only seen once since his hospitalization and that was on Tuesday last when he celebrated his birthday. He was afraid of her seeing him and it was only because the burns started to heal that he allowed her to visit him.
His daughter arranged for a neighbour to bake a cake for her father unknown to her mother and she brought it to the hospital with the help of one of her father’s friends.
“I feel really good, yesterday [Tuesday] was a nice day, [some members of the cricket board] bring cake too and all of them were allowed in… so it was good,” Jaigobin said, adding that he was grateful to the nurse for allowing all of them into the room.
Jaigobin said his 17-year-old son visits him from time to time but he prefers his children to stay away from the hospital as it is hard for him to allow them to see him in such a condition.
His son was writing his CXC examination when his father was attacked and he [Jaigobin] hopes that the incident would not have impacted on his son’s performance. He is happy that not withstanding his attack his daughter was first in her class last term with 95% overall.
During the interview he received a phone call from his daughter who wanted to know what he was doing and she told him he looked well when she visited him the day before.
He is under the care of some competent doctors and he said the nurses have been very good to him, giving him good care.
Still not certain of the date he will be released, Jaigobin said that a Chinese plastic surgeon has been seeing him and recently grafting was taken from his leg to assist with the healing of his neck, which was badly damaged by the acid.
As Stabroek News spoke to him, Jaigobin revealed that he has to make a conscious effort to keep his head up since he finds that his head droops because of the injury to his neck.
While he is anxious to leave the hospital, Jaigobin said he will have to wait until the burns to his face, neck, chest, parts of his arms and leg heal first.
He was told that he just has to wait out the process and eat well and take care of his body. The burns have caused his left earlobe to fold in and Jaigobin said he hopes that it will not remain in that condition.
The father of two said he just wants to leave the hospital adding that prior to this incident he had never been hospitalized and this makes it more difficult. He said he does not sleep at night as he would lay awake thinking about what happened to him and wondering why, while also missing his family. He sleeps in the day even as his wife sits in the waiting room for the next visiting hour.
The family should have been in Canada on vacation but instead Jaigobin is in hospital missing his wife and children and they are at home missing him.
He also misses his work, at the Ministry of Finance, as “I is a man don’t like miss work.”
Jaigobin just longs for the day when he can walk out of the hospital and go home and for now the troubles of the GCB are furthest from his mind.