Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2013 Contents A5
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Pleasant, humble and brilliant, Ravin-
dra Ramrattan was a hero in his home-
town of Munroe Road, Cunupia.
When he won the President s Medal,
Gold, in 2002, while a student at Presen-
tation College, Chaguanas, the community
celebrated with his family. When he migrat-
ed to study at renowned Universities of
Cambridge, Oxford and later, the London
School of Economics, the success story of
this humble young man filled his neigh-
bours hearts with pride.
Yesterday the community of Munroe
Road, Cunupia, was thrown into sadness,
as word spread that Ravi, one of their
brightest sons, was among approximately
68, shot and killed in a terrorist attack at
the Nairobi s Westgate Shopping Mall,
Kenya, over the weekend.
At the family s home, there was a con-
stant flow of mourners and well wishers
who visited to offer sympathy and support
to Ravi s parents, Bisnath and Parbatie
Ramrattan. Among them, principal of Pres-
entation College, Chaguanas, Gary Ribeiro,
and members of staff who taught Ravi.
Grieving mom Parbatie Ramrattan held
on to a relative and cried, as the tragedy,
thousands of miles away in Kenya, was
reported on CNC3 and photos of the
Trinidadian scholar flashed on the television
"I never expected to be doing my son s
funeral. I have two sons, (Ravi and Rajiv)
to do our rites when we die, not us to do
their rites," the devout Hindu woman cried.
"Ravi left me too early. He should not
have died now because he had so much
to live for. He was an innocent victim in
"Ravi was not a violent person," she said
commenting on the savage manner in
which his life was taken when Shabab mil-
itant attackers launched an attack on the
mall, killing at least 68 people and holding
others hostage over the weekend.
The bereaved mother said the incident
"has changed the whole course of every-
thing. I have three children, Ravi, Rajiv
and Reshma but Ravi was our gem.
"He was our eyeball. He was the light
of the life for everyone, his family, the
community, because of his personality. He
was friendly, easy to get along with, always
humble, obedient, always pleasant, never
gave anyone trouble."
She described her son as a high achiever,
who excelled in everything he set out to
do, including copping the coveted Presi-
dent s Medal, Gold, in 2002.
"Ravi, in all respects, was an excellent
role model for all other children as well as
his siblings. Children who do well (at Pres-
entation) now try to catch up to Ravi s
standards. He has set the stage for others
She said four years ago he took up a job
in the financial sector in Kenya, to do
research economics towards his PHD,
which was his passion, even though he
was offered to do it at Mc Gill University,
"He opted to go to Kenya because he
wanted to challenge his mind and Kenya
was a challenge.
"He wanted to come up with solutions
and create new ideas because he was doing
development economics, so he went to
Kenya to be the in the workplace that
would give him the opportunity to open
further windows towards his PHD, when
everything came to an end."
Parbatie said she last spoke to her son
on his 30th birthday on September 2 and
then communicated with him by e-mail
a week ago. She said she last saw him in
June 2012 when he came home for a family
function. The family had planned to visit
him next year.
All the plans crashed on Saturday, when
friends notified them he was missing after
the hostage siege.
"They (his friends) kept us updated and
they searched day and night until they
found his body on Sunday and called us."
She said: "This is not something I ever
expected. I don t know what to feel. For
me as a mother, Ravi has left me too early.
He should not have died now. He had too
much to live for."
She said her other children Rajiv, an
engineer, resident in England and her
daughter, Reshma, an attorney-at-law are
all torn up by the news.
"The pain we are feeling now, will be
with us for the rest of our lives," she said.
Her husband, who held a graduation
photo of his late son, said: "Ravi was a
goal-oriented, sociable and fun-loving
individual. He loved nature and the simple
life, although he could rub shoulders at
the highest level of the World Bank.
"Instead of simply staying within the
norm of graduating and staying in T&T,
he explored the world, until this unfortunate
He said even though Ravi spent a short
time on this earth, "it would have been
very fulfilling and whatever his fate has
taken him, he would have lived a full life
at his age."
Ramrattan said Ravi set standards for
his siblings, Rajiv, also a past Presentation
student and Reshma a St Augustine Girls
High School pupil, who both went on to
win national scholarships.
"I am very proud of my children, despite
the situation," Ramrattan said.
Government is working with its Africa missions
and CAL to return home the body of T&T national
Ravindra Ramrattan who was killed in the terrorist
attack at Westgate Mall, Kenya, last Saturday, acting
Foreign Affairs Minister Roodal Moonilal said yes-
He said Government learned of Ramrattan s death
on Sunday after bodies were being taken out of the
area under attack and efforts were on to identify vic-
Other victims were from India, Canada, Australia,
the UK, France, South Africa, China, Holland, the
US and New Zealand.
Moonilal said Ramrattan, a relative of former min-
ister Manohar Ramsaran, had been working with
the World Bank Development Centre. "He was well
loved in the organisation," he added.
He said no other T&T-born victims have been
discovered so far.
"We are truly saddened by what has occurred and
we are giving all support to Ravindra s family in this
tragedy of the highest order. We are liaising with all
our representatives at our Africa missions to deal
with the situation," Moonilal added.
He said Government had been networking with
its missions in Africa and also using British assistance
to ensure Ramrattan s body leaves Nairobi. CAL is
also involved in the effort to airlift the body home,
Moonilal said the situation took a little time to
organise but would be done as quickly as possibly.
He said the Government was closely monitoring
the events in Kenya with a view to ascertaining if
other T&T nationals were among victims or wound-
ed.Moonilal said he was scheduled to visit Ramrattan s
family at Munroe Road last night.
He said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
had issued a message of condolence.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday
mourned T&T scholar Ravindra Ramrattan, saying
he was "cut down by terrorists" at Westgate Mall,
Kenya, on Saturday.
"It is with deep sadness that I offer condolences
to the family of this bright son from T&T," she said
in a statement yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar said Ramrattan was the recipient
of the President s Medal in 2002 with distinctions
in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and General
Paper. After completing his studies abroad he took
up a major assignment in Africa, where he had worked
as a research analyst with the World Bank in Nairobi
since September 2011.
Persad-Bissessar Said: "Over the years, we have
heard where our nationals, serving in various capac-
ities, were violently killed. Here was a young man,
approaching 30 years old, with a bright future, cut
down by terrorism. "
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran con-
firmed news of the death and described it as "very
T&T s High Commissioner to Uganda, who has
responsibility for Kenya, Patrick Edwards, said Ram-
rattan was "a bright spark in that he was in the wrong
place at the wrong time."
Edwards spoke in a brief telephone interview with
the T&T Guardian yesterday.
"It is a sad day, a tragic and unfortunate situation,"
Edwards said Ramrattan was killed while buying
food at a supermarket in the mall.
Trini killed during
attack in Kenya
PM: Bright son cut
down by terrorism
Bisnath Ramrattan looks at a photograph of his son, T&T scholar 2002 winner Ravindra
Ramrattan who was killed in a terrorist arrack at the Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya, on
Saturday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
for humble hero
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