Trinidad national Ravindra Ramrattan was among several people killed in a terrorist attack and siege at a Kenyan shopping mall that entered its third day today.
Ramrattan, who was awarded the President's medal gold in 2002, was living and working in Nairobi, Kenya since September 2011. He was employed as a research economist.
It was reported that several people were killed and many others held hostage in an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi where al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked.
The Red Cross in Kenya said the death toll in the attack at Narobi's Westgate Shopping Mall was at least 68.
The Kenya Defence Forces posted on its Twitter account last night that "most of the hostages have been rescued'' and that four security forces had taken control of "most parts of the building.''
Ramrattan, of Monroe Road, Cunupia, attended Presentation College, Chaguanas. He attained distinctions in mathematics, chemistry, physics and general paper at the Advanced Level examinations and was named President's gold medal winner.
Teachers and pupils were informed of his passing this morning.
Principal Gary Ribiero said, "This morning we told the pupils at assembly and we had a moment of silence in his memory. At 11am, we are having a function for all scholarship winners and we will have a moment of silence for him. His photograph was placed on the corridor for all to see him. The pupils and teachers were saddened by his death. The school flag is at half-mast," he said.
A Facebook page was created in memory of Ravindra Ramrattan last night.
An invitation was extended to Ramrattan's friends and relatives to attend a service at the Buddhist Temple in Nairobi.
The Facebook post states, "Please join us this evening at the Buddhist Temple in Nairobi, starting at 5pm, to remember him and his incredible presence in our lives. Feel free to invite all those whose lives have been touched by him and who may want to attend."
At the family home today, Ramrattan's parents Bisnath and Parbatie Ramrattan said they had few details on the events leading to the death of their son. They first knew something was wrong when Ramrattan's friends called on Saturday to tell of the attack at the mall.
The friends said they were able to escape along with hundreds of other shoppers, but could not find Ramrattan. The parents said they received another telephone call on Sunday night to say that Ramrattan had been killed in the mall.
The parents, business owners said they were making arrangement to bring their son's body home.
According to a Reuters report today "Thick smoke poured from the besieged Nairobi mall where Kenyan officials said their forces were closing in on Islamists holding hostages on Monday, three days after a raid by Somalia's al Shabaab killed at least 62 people.
It remained unclear how many gunmen and hostages were still cornered in the Westgate shopping center, two hours after a series of loud explosions and gunfire were followed by a plume of black smoke, that grew in volume from one part of the complex.
Kenya's interior minister told a news conference that the militants - all men, though some wore women's clothing during the assault - had set a fire with mattresses in a supermarket on the mall's lower floors. Two "terrorists" had been killed on Monday, he added. Another assailant had died on Saturday.
The gunmen came from "all over the world", Kenya's military chief said, adding: "We are fighting global terrorism here."
(Richard Charan - Multimedia Editor)