By Nalinee Seelal Wednesday, August 28 2013
Two men, one a self-employed resident of Guayamare and the other of Barataria, whose actions resulted in two lives being saved have been singled out for honour at Saturday’s National Independence Award ceremony at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA).
John Julien and Ganesh Bansraj confirmed to Newsday yesterday that they both received official calls indicating they were chosen to be the recipients of awards for gallantry and they have accepted.
Julien, 54, is the person who rescued a newborn baby girl from a dumpster in Malick on July 25 while Bansraj, 28, saved a man from drowning when his car plunged into the Guayamare river on August 15.
Yesterday Julien was at his sister’s residence at Sixth Avenue, Barataria, and expressed joy that he was being honoured. Julien said he didn’t own a suit but was going to acquire one.
Julien makes a living by selling scrap iron and securing food from any place he could find it. He hopes that after the award he would find better employment.
On Wednesday when the call came that he was going to be the recipient of a National Award, he was congratulated for his keen sense of observation which resulted in the dramatic rescue of a newborn baby named Destiny whose eyes, nose and mouth were plastered with duct tape and left for dead in a garbage bag, thrown inside a dumpster in Malick.
Julien believes it was divine intervention which led to the rescue of the baby girl and said the cries of the infant still haunt him.
Yesterday, he told Newsday it breaks his heart that he has been unable to visit the baby at hospital because he lacked the money to travel to Mt Hope. He said he borrowed $200 from a friend to buy a pair of pants and shirt for the occasion at SAPA but was told by friends and relatives that it would be wise if he could attend the occasion in a suit.
“I am not ashamed to say that I have no money, I cannot afford a suit but my family and friends are anxious to see me collect that award so I am trying my best to get the suit,” Julien said.
Newsday offered to buy him a suit and he accepted.
Julien said his life has been a hard one and he has encountered many frustrations including going hungry for days and having to live off handouts from persons in Barataria.
On the night of July 25, Julien was walking past the dumpster when he heard whimpering sounds which he thought were coming from a kitten. He went his way but returned and using a flashlight, began to search until he spotted a market bag that was tightly wrapped up. Julien said he realised it was not an animal and hurriedly tried to loosen the bag. When he did, he was surprised to see that it was a baby girl with the umbilical cord still attached.
The father of four said tears came to his eyes as he looked at the tiny baby girl squirming inside the bag. It was indeed a miracle that Julien found the baby still alive as apart from being wrapped tightly inside the bag, the baby’s eyes were covered with tape and a cotton ball was placed in her mouth which was then taped shut.
Julien told Newsday seeing what was done to the newborn was too much for him. He cried. Carefully he removed the tape and saw bruises on the baby’s face caused by the taping and by her being wrapped tightly in the bag.
At the time he told Newsday, “this was the first time in my 54 years that I ever cried. I could not believe it and what makes me more sad was the thought that I almost left her in there. It would have really hurt if later on, I heard on the news that a dead baby was found in this dumpster. I don’t know why somebody would do this to a child. As a father myself, it real hurt me.” Julien told Newsday while cradling the newborn in his arms, he went to the nearby home of a policeman and showed the baby to the shocked officer.
The officer contacted the Morvant police who took the baby to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope where she remains warded with doctors closely monitoring her vitals. Police later detained a woman, a mother of six, who has since been warded at St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital.The other recipient, Ganesh Bansraj a self-employed man who lives close to the Guayamare river also confirmed he received a call informing him that he was the recipient of a National Award for gallantry.
He said, “I was shocked because never in my wildest dreams did I expect a National Award for saving a life.”
He added that he is yet to purchase his suit for the occasion but he and his family are anxiously awaiting his moment of glory.
“I am happy that at least someone out there recognised that I was responsible for saving a life and I know there are more people like myself who never got any award but I am accepting this award on behalf of all those persons for their good deeds,” said Bansraj.
He recalled the incident on August 15. He was at home when, at about 2.40 pm, he heard a crashing sound and on enquiring saw a group of people looking into the river. Bansraj said when he saw the car being submerged with the driver trapped inside he jumped into the water and managed to open the door on the driver’s side and rescued Rolly Bhagwansingh.
He said he was forced to jump into the river even though he was scared when he realised that the driver was unconscious and his nose was about to touch the water, he knew that his failure to pluck Bhagwansingh from the car could have resulted in death.
Bansraj’s cousin Shiv also jumped into the river to assist him and together they got Bhagwansingh out and began attempts to revive him. He said if faced with the same situation he would not think twice about doing it again. Also said to be in line for a national award is World Championship Gold Medallist Jehue Gordon, who won the 400M hurdle at the recent event in Russia. See Page 32A