Economic and Financial Analyst attached to the Ministry of Finance, Pretipaul Jaigobin, was on Friday revered as “an impeccable and flawless member of the Ministry of Finance family.”
That was the sentiment expressed by Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, at the funeral ceremony held at Jaigobin’s Low Lands, East Coast Demerara residence.
Dr. Singh was initially accompanied by President Dr. Irfaan Ali, who met with family members before the funeral service began and expressed his sadness at the passing of his ex-colleague at the Ministry of Finance.
Jaigobin died in a vehicular accident on April 1, 2021, while on duty in Madhia, Region Eight, and on Friday, there were glowing tributes at his home where Ministry of Finance staffers, members of the cricket fraternity and other well-wishers had gathered.
Dr. Singh, who had worked closely with Jaigobin at the ministry since 2002, reflected on some traits that made the late financial expert a standout in his field.
“From the first day that he came to work with the ministry he established his reliability, his dependability, his trustworthiness, his integrity, his courage and fearlessness,” Dr. Singh reflected.
“He was never daunted by any task. He was never intimidated by any duty. Nothing was too much for Jai to take on. He was willing to seize every task that was assigned to him and execute it flawlessly.”
Dr. Singh added that Guyana is indebted to the great contributions of Jaigobin, noting that the father of two was responsible for the country’s cooperation with the European Union.
“In fact when he was first recruited, he was recruited to the European Union’s National Authorising Officer Task Force that managed all of Guyana’s cooperation with the European Union,” Dr. Singh told the gathering.
He continued, “And the European Union is one of Guyana’s biggest development partners and Jai was responsible for ensuring that the projects and initiatives, supported by our partnership between the European Union and Guyana, were well implemented, and were implemented with the strictest standards of accountability. He discharged those tasks and that responsibility with distinction.”
Jaigobin was also a leading figure in the financial management of the nationwide COVID-19 cash grant initiative rolled out by the government.
His close friend and former Minister of Finance, Sasenarine Kowlessar, also paid tribute to the 54-year-old, calling his death untimely.
“If ever there was time when death has cheated us; if ever there was a time when death has defeated us; if ever there was a time that death has shown that it is no respecter of persons; and if ever there was a time that death has diminished us, that time and that moment is now,” Kowlessar pointed out.
‘Outstanding cricket administrator’
As a member of the East Coast and Demerara Cricket Boards, Jaigobin was part of a stakeholders group that had fought for about a decade for the holding of legitimate elections at the Guyana Cricket Board.
Described by many as an outspoken individual with the highest integrity in financial management, Jaigobin was elected Treasurer of the Guyana Cricket Board at the March 29 elections, a mere three days before his demise.
Minister of Sport, Charles Ramson Jr., who played a leading role in the staging of the recent elections, in conformity with the Cricket Administration Act, lauded Jaigobin’s courageous effort in the fight for legitimacy in the sport.
“He saw it through to the end,” Ramson Jr. said at the funeral service.
“The country, the ministry is in a better place and will be in a better place because of the courage that Jai had at one of the most important periods for the sport.”
Newly-elected president of the Guyana Cricket Board, Bissoondyal Singh, said he was influenced by Jaigobin many years ago to get involved in cricket administration. That journey, Singh related, started from the East Coast level, then to Demerara and eventually to the national level.
For Singh, his classmate Jaigobin was that constant along the way.
Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board, Ronald Williams, said the cricket fraternity was shocked by the passing of Jaigobin, and the game is poorer with his demise.
“Jai was simply an outstanding cricket administrator,” Williams observed.
“He had experience and expertise in his field. We at the Cricket Board expected so much of Pretipaul, but in the end we have to accept, but the kind of acceptance that comes with death does not come easily.”
Apart from his role in cricket, Jaigobin, who was the Economic and Financial Analyst attached to the Ministry of Finance, was a member of the Guyana Football Federation’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
Jaigobin and three other persons were travelling in a black Toyota Tundra along the Mahdia access road about five kilometres from the Mabura Police Outpost when the accident occurred.
The other persons were treated for injuries at the Linden Hospital Complex.
Notably, in 2010, Jaigobin, the then Assistant Treasurer of the Guyana Cricket Board, was doused with acid in the face at Strathspey, East Coast Demerara, where he had stopped to make a purchase.