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Joint prayers for Malaysian Airlines loss

By By Joel Julien and Anna Ramdass

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said the prayers of this country are joined with the prayers of those who lost family members, friends and colleagues in the tragedy involving Malaysia Airlines MH17. 

Persad-Bissessar made the statement during Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives at the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

On Thursday Malaysia Airlines MH17 carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

“It is with great sadness that we learnt of the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 in which 298 persons lost their lives amongst which 189 are reported to be Dutch nationals, 44 citizens of Malaysia, 27 from Australia and others from Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand,” Persad-Bissessar said.

“On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago I extend deep condolences to the government and people of these countries on the loss of the loved ones family members friends and colleagues.”

She added: “I join our prayers to theirs and trust that our expression of solidarity will strengthen their spirit at this very challenging moment.”

On Thursday she also responded to comments about her grandson Kristiano wearing a Spiderman mask in Brazil when they attended a luncheon hosted by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

She was responding to question from reporters following a cocktail reception in honour of the life of Nelson Mandela at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

Persad-Bissessar said she had no idea her grandson had left the hotel with the costume as they were in separate cars.

She said when he came into the room, she was surprised to see him wearing the mask and asked him to remove it, but he would not.

Persad-Bissessar said Rousseff and other heads of states found it funny and the Brazilian President actually lifted the mask to speak to Kristiano.

Told that there was the view that wearing the mask was a breach of protocol, the Prime Minister responded: “He’s not a politician, he is not bound by protocol...they were all just so happy (heads of State)...they know children, we know children...I was very fascinated I love him very much and I am very happy that I got to spend a few moments with him in something that we all enjoyed and now it’s a year ahead of hard work.”

Questioned on what team she supported, Persad-Bissessar who admitted she was a football fan said: “I supported any team that was playing good football, I love Colombia, I love Costa Rica, I love Germany, I love the Dutch, the teams that were playing and I got Germany.”                    —See Page 29

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