Apr 23, 2013 News Comments Off on Neville Annibourne dies in sleep at 82
Having escaped one of the most horrific events in Guyana’s history— the Jonestown massacre— Neville Annibourne had much to be thankful for and thus lived a fruitful and active life. This is according to his reputed wife, Ms. Verna Cummings.
Annibourne, a former Captain in the Guyana Defence Force and a longstanding journalist died early yesterday. He was 82.
Cummings, who knew Annibourne for over 25 years, told Kaieteur News that it was around 04:00 hours yesterday that she discovered her husband in bed with a faint pulse. She said he seemed to be clinging to life as there was no movement or sound and his breathing was extremely light and slow.
She said that it was some time last week that she noticed strange occurrences with her husband. She said he suffered a bout of filaria and had other ailments such as hypertension. Last Thursday, the man became bedridden; he complained about pain in his legs and had a terrible tummy ache.
Doing what is usual, Cummings said she gave Annibourne his medicines and tended to his needs, while he continued his regular visits to his doctor. He however started to find problems standing and walking and later had difficulties talking and eating. By Friday, Cummings said his condition worsened.
She recalled that on Sunday she noticed that her husband seemed extremely weak, as he was hardly moving in bed. That night, she said, he had a heavy wheezing and he was snoring extremely loud.
Cummings said she went to bed around 03:00 hours Monday as she was up knitting. She remembered hearing the heavy breathing just before falling asleep, but about an hour later, she said she jumped out of her sleep and realized that there was no sound from her husband. “Like something touch me and I woke up, but I was not hearing that loud snoring so I start shaking him and calling him, but nothing.”
Cummings said she continued to shake her husband and calling his name but still there was no answer. When she checked his pulse, the woman said, “It was low but he was alive.” By that time she said Annibourne’s son had already tried feverishly to get on to rescue workers. Calls were even made to the Sparendaam Police Station, but they were not getting through.
It was a very long time after, Cummings said, that the ambulance came. And when they arrived they were reluctant to take her husband to the hospital. The man told her, “We don’t carrying dead people.” She said it was not until she pleaded to the point where she started demanding that they take her husband to the hospital that they did.
She said she remained firm that her husband had a pulse until the man finally said, “Only cause of you lady mek we gun carry he.”
When they arrived at the hospital, Cummings said a young man pronounced her husband dead and he was subsequently taken to the morgue.
Annibourne was one of those fortunate enough to get out of Jonestown with his life in 1978. He had ventured into the interior area of Port Kaituma where American preacher Jim Jones had created a community of followers where some committed suicide and others were murdered. He had accompanied Congressman Leo Ryan who was shot and killed there.
Ryan remains the only United States Congressman to be killed outside the United States.
Annibourne served in the country’s army, before playing his part on the political and journalist scene. He was also a member of various organizations and was involved in various club activities. His last place of residence was at Lot 27 Happy Acres, East Coast Demerara.
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