Thursday, August 13, 2009

Senators Help Reunite Family for Funeral

Following the tragic death of Queens resident Roopnarine Gopaul, 42, and his five-year-old son Christopher Gopaul, earlier this month in a jet ski accident, state Senator Joe Addabbo along with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand helped expedite the visa process allowing close relatives abroad to arrive in New York in time for the funeral. Two sisters of Roopnarine Gopaul reunited with their Queens family hours before the somber ceremony.

State Senator Addabbo said, “In addressing this unfortunate family issue, I was grateful to successfully work with Sen. Gillibrand’s office to assist our constituents through their difficult time.”

“During these difficult moments, it's important for families to gather with their loved ones,” Senator Gillibrand said. “I am relieved that Lilouttie and Bhagmattie Gopaul are able to join their family and friends here at home as they grieve from the loss of their brother and nephew. Our deepest condolences go out to the Gopaul family. They are in our prayers.”

Lilouttie Gopaul, one of the two sisters traveling from Guyana to New York, said, “The entire family thanks Senator Gillibrand and State Senator Addabbo. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve visited my family and it means so much that I will be present for the funeral of my brother and nephew. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for making the impossible possible.”

Shortly after the accident, Mr. Gopaul’s sisters unsuccessfully tried to secure an interview with the U.S. Embassy in Guyana to return for the funeral but were met with bureaucratic red tape that would prevent them from arriving on time. Without an expedited interview, the sisters would have missed the ceremony. But thanks to Sandra Singh of Richmond Hill, another of Mr. Gopaul’s sisters who reached out for Senator Joe Addabbo, the family was able to attend.

Mr. Gopaul, who immigrated to the United States two decades ago, worked as a truckdriver and was an active member of his community.

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