MARVIN PHILLIP, Trinidad and Tobago’s national footballer, was so overcome with emotion upon hearing about the death of his son that he smashed a glass window causing damage to his right hand.
On Friday, Phillip’s ten-month-old son Matai Phillip died at a day care facility in Chaguanas shortly after he was dropped off by his grandfather at 6.15 a.m.
Police said the child was placed in a car seat at the Anointed Angels Day Care, Cicada Street, Edinburgh 500 and there was the possibility he could have suffocated or strangled with the seat belt.
Phillip, 29, who was in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the time, said he was distraught when he heard his son died.
Phillip spoke to reporters yesterday at Matai’s home where he lived with his mother Leslie-Ann Halls in Springland, Gasparillo. Halls is an employee of telecoms provider TSTT and a part-time Special Reserve Police Officer.
The footballer left Brazil Friday night and travelled home via Miami. He arrived in Trinidad at 2 p.m.
Phillip said he first knew something was wrong after reading messages from a relative at around 9.30 a.m. on Friday when he returned to his hotel room after having breakfast. The footballers were not allowed to have their cellphones with them during breakfast, Phillip said.
“It was one of my cousins who messaged me first saying how is my young son doing. Apparently they did not want to break it to me at that point. The messages he was sending to me, I knew something was wrong,” he said.
He said he called Matai’s grandfather to find out if anything was wrong and he was told his son died.
Phillip said: “It’s really a sad moment for me and my family. It’s really difficult for me and difficult for a lot of us knowing Matai is just ten months old, an innocent child. It is not a good feeling to hear that your young one has passed. I was distraught. On hearing the news I ended up punching a window.”
The team’s doctor administered five stitches to Phillip’s right hand.
His teammates also supported him.
Phillip said: “A lot of guys supported me. They tried to console me. A lot of them shed tears, they wouldn’t want it to happen to themselves. I would not want to wish this on my worst enemy.”
An autopsy is expected to take place tomorrow at the Forensic Science Centre, St James.
Until then, Phillip is unsure as to what action he may take.
“All we are waiting for is the autopsy (tomorrow) to see what is really going on. We are hearing a lot of contradicting stories but we are waiting on Monday for the autopsy to speak out more on it. If negligence was involved, yes, I would follow the steps to take action... At this time, I really can’t comment on that, the way I feel right now, I leave anything in God’s hands.”
Phillip said he was looking forward to celebrating his son’s first birthday on August 2, one day after his own.
He said: “It will really be difficult not having him here for his birthday. Hearing you son die is not a nice song to hear.”
Phillip has two other sons ages nine and five. He lives at Willliamsville.