GRATEFUL and inspired by the generosity of people who responded to their cry for help, ailing couple Evans Rajpaul and his wife Vitra Teelucksingh-Rajpaul are now giving back to others who are also in need.
Last week, Rajpaul, 60, who walks with a crutch as a result of a work-related injury, and his 68-year-old wife – a cancer patient – turned to Newsday for help.
Putting aside their pride, the Rajpauls, who live at an HDC apartment at Corinth Hill, San Fernando, said they were literally starving.
Evans Rajpaul said they were solely dependent on Vitra’s old age pension, as a disability grant he previously received was stopped when he turned 60 in April. That is because he is now entitled to a monthly payment under the National Insurance system (NIS).
However, the NIS payment is yet to be settled.
Rajpaul said because of the lapse in payment, he and his wife of 33 years were saddled with mounting and unpaid debts. He said he did not want handouts, but help to get the payment so he and his wife can take care of themselves.
Their story was published a week ago in Newsday’s Saturday edition, and immediately good Samaritans responded.
From empty cupboards there was not enough space to store what they received.
“Is whole day and whole night people calling and bringing things by the carload, by the vanload. I got so much, I had to refuse,” Rajpaul said.
“I feel as though I have $20,000 or more worth of stuff. We can’t eat all of that.”
Instead of hoarding, Rajpaul with the help of friends and relatives, spent the next few days packing smaller care packages to redistribute to people who are also in need.
He said among those responding to his cries on Saturday last week were representatives from both the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the United National Congress (UNC).
A representative from the NIS also called and promised to look into his matter.
Evans said both political parties took photos of him in his apartment.
“I just hope this is not a political gimmick, that they talking to me and treating me nice, and after a few days they forget me.”
He said one of his visitors from the PNM was Brian Manning, the prospective candidate for the San Fernando East constituency. He said Manning assured him he will look into the status of his disability grant and NIS payment urgently.
Manning confirmed that his attention was drawn to the Newsday article outlining Rajpaul’s dire situation and he immediately reached out.
On Saturday last week, Manning and a team, including the constituency’s chairman Patricia Alexis and several councillors, met Rajpaul at the Navet Road constituency office.
“We met him, we provided him with some immediate relief and we are also working to clear up certain public service issues he has in terms of his NIS and disability grant.”
Manning said the initiative to reach out was his, “because I want to be known as a person who cares about people.”