National footballer Marvin Phillip has been urged by police to seek counselling after he smashed a window at the daycare centre in Chaguanas where his ten-month-old son Matai Phillip died on June 6.
Matai’s death was attributed to positional asphyxia after he became entangled in the straps of his baby car seat he was placed in to help comfort him when he began crying at the Anointed Angels Daycare at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas.
Police report Phillip, 30, returned to the daycare centre at about 5.30 am yesterday and broke a window.
The goalkeeper for the Soca Warriors football team had also smashed a glass window in a hotel in Brazil, where he was staying for a friendly match against Iran, when he learned of his son’s death from his father. Also, at Matai’s funeral on June 11, Phillip was so inconsolable he had to be restrained as he held his son’s small coffin. Matai’s mother Leslie Ann-Halls is a Special Reserve police officer and employee of TSTT.
Although police said Phillip could be charged with malicious damage, investigators said the daycare’s owner did not want to press charges. The cost of the damage is less than $1,000.
However, Senior Supt Johnny Abraham yesterday said he has asked Central Division officers to advise Phillip to seek help from the Victim Support Unit of the Police Service to help him deal with the pain of the loss of his infant son.
Following the incident, several officers including Supt Joanne Archie visited the scene and spoke to Phillip, the owner and others and they are now involved in mediation talks.
On his return to Trinidad from Argentina on June 7, Phillip told Sunday Newsday his pain was unimaginable.
“It is not anything I would wish upon my worst enemy,” Phillip has said at the family’s home in Springland, Gasparillo. When Phillip had punched a glass window at the hotel in Brazil he sustained injuries to his hands, receiving five stitches to his right hand.
According to reports, at about 6.15 am on June 6, Matai’s grandparents Lincoln Halls and Gemma Ottley had dropped off the boy at Anointed Angels Daycare at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. Halls said he had also handed the infant’s baby’s car seat to the day care.
Halls said that at the time the attendant was alone with Matai and about five other babies but stated that other attendants would be arriving at 8 am.
One hour later, the daycare telephoned Matai’s mother Lesley-Ann Halls, and told her the baby had been taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility. When the relatives arrived at the Health Facility, baby Matai was already dead.
“I was distraught on hearing the news. I ended up punching a window this is why I have this band on my hand, it was not a nice feeling, hearing the news of the death of your son. It’s really a sad moment for me and my family. It is difficult for all of us knowing that Matai is just a ten-month- old innocent child, ” Phillip had said in the Sunday Newsday interview.
Matai would have celebrated his first birthday on August 2. “His mom and I had a lot of plans for him on his birthday, as my birthday is August 1 and he was born August 2 so I was really looking forward for his birthday and it is going to be difficult not having him here for his birthday,” he said.
Babies laid to rest
By LAUREL V WILLIAMS (T&T Newsday)
NATIONAL goalkeeper Marvin Phillips will bid final farewell this afternoon to his ten-month-old son, Matai, following a funeral service at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Gasparillo.
The funeral service is scheduled to begin at 2.30 pm following which the infant will be buried at the cemetery in the churchyard at Caratal Road, Gasparillo. The baby is believed to have choked to death while in a car seat at a day-care in Chaguanas on Friday last.
Thirty minutes (half-an-hour) after Matai’s funeral service begins, the Mohammed family of St Francis Village, Erin, will also be bidding farewell to five-month-old baby accident victim, Jessica Mohammed, who died on June 1.
The funeral is scheduled to take place at the family’s home then baby Jessica will be buried at the Public Cemetery in Erin, south-western Trinidad.
At the time of Matai’s death, his father, who is the goalkeeper for the Soca Warriors national football team was in Argentina with team members.
Reports are that about 6.15am on Friday, Matai’s grandparents Lincoln Halls and Gemma Ottley had dropped off the child at Anointed Angels Daycare at Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. Halls said he had also handed the infant’s baby’s car seat to the day-care. Reports added that about an hour later, someone at the daycare telephoned Matai’s mother Lesley-Ann Halls, a police officer assigned to the Gasparillo Police Station, and told her the baby had been taken to the Chaguanas Health Facility.
When the relatives arrived at the Health Facility, baby Matai was already dead.
Parents say goodbye to baby Matai today
By Radhica Sookraj (T&T Guardian)
National T&T footballer Marvin Phillip and his wife, Lesley Ann Halls, will say their final goodbyes today to their ten-month-old son who died at a daycare centre in Chaguanas last week. Baby Matai Joshua Cameron Phillip will be buried today at the Gasparillo cemetery after a service at the Gasparillo RC Church, Caratal Road.
The child died after being taken to the Anointed Angels daycare centre at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. An autopsy showed he died from positional asphyxia. This happens when a person cannot get enough air to breathe owing to the positioning of his/her body. Phillip returned to Trinidad on Saturday from Brazil to bury his son the day before the Soca Warriors were to meet Iran in an international friendly.
Saying Matai’s death was the worst ordeal he had ever experienced, Phillip said he would leave no stone unturned to find out what had happened. “We are hearing a lot of contradicting stories. It is not a good feeling to hear your young baby is dead. I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” Phillip said. He also said he was confident there would be no cover-up.
“I have been assured by the authorities that this matter will be thoroughly investigated so I don’t believe there will be a cover-up,” Phillip said. He added that he and Halls were planning to celebrate the baby’s first birthday on August 2. He added that Matai was a healthy child and it was heartbreaking to live without ever again seeing him smile. Baby Matai was the third child to have died last week.
He was dropped off at the daycare centre around 6.15 am and died an hour later. The owner, Pauline Maloney, said Matai was crying and was put in a car seat where it is believed he suffocated on the straps. On June 1, Kriston Gonzales, 22 months, drowned in a pond at Mayaro. Jemimah Agard, five, drowned in a pool at the Young Men’s Christian Association, Port-of-Spain, a day later during a school outing.