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No Trinis affected in shooting rampage

Connecticut massacre

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

NO Trinidad and Tobago nationals were affected by Friday's shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, according to preliminary investigations.

This was stated yesterday by this country's Consul General to New York, Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam.

Ramgoolam however said the Consulate General was still awaiting official correspondence on the tragedy.

Twenty children, aged between six and seven, along with six women were shot dead when a lone gunman named Adam Lanza opened fire in the school on Friday.

Lanza also took his own life.

He had earlier killed his mother.

The first funerals for victims were held yesterday as Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both aged six, were laid to rest.

This country's Consulate General in New York has jurisdiction over and is responsible for providing consular services to person residing in Connecticut.

Last Thursday the Consulate General resumed operations at Maiden Lane, New York after being affected by Superstorm Sandy in October.

Speaking to the Express via a telephone interview yesterday, Ramgoolam said more needed to be done globally to protect children.

"The tragedy is not confined to the United States, all over the world you will have these challenges what we need to do is review our societal norms and how we bring up our children," she said.

"It is very critical that we keep our children positively engaged," she said.

Ramgoolam yesterday lauded Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh's announcement that security measures at this country's schools were being strengthened.

"It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared," she said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran yesterday said the fatal shooting "caused people around the world to grieve, including people of Trinidad and Tobago".

Dookeran conveyed the country's "deep sorrow and sadness" over the incident through Ramgoolam over the weekend.

"So many of our nationals have made their homes in various parts of the United States including the State of Connecticut and it is no secret that whenever there is tragedy, we feel the pain for we subscribe to the values of human dignity and empathy and agree with the observation that even if we did not personally know the victims, we will know someone who knows them," Dookeran stated.

Dookeran said the country would continue in its "efforts to seek global support for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty which we in Trinidad and Tobago piloted with our Caribbean neighbours at the United Nations".

During its National Council meeting on Sunday, the Congress of the People (COP) offered prayers to the families affected by the shooting, a release stated yesterday.

"As a party we strongly condemn this gruesome action on innocent lives and on behalf of the COP, I wish to state that our hearts are united in sympathy not only with the victims' families but with the entire American people who are undergoing deep grief at this time," COP political leader and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar stated.

"We in Trinidad and Tobago must assess our own preparedness God forbid, to prevent or address a similar event," Ramadhar stated.

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