Press Release

After Tragic Jet Ski Accident, Gillibrand, Addabbo Help Reunite Queens Family with Relatives Abroad for Funeral Tomorrow

Aug 7, 2009

York, NY – After a recent jet ski accident that led to the tragic death of a
Queens father and son, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and State Senator Joe
Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) helped expedite the visa process allowing close
relatives abroad to arrive in New York in time for the funeral. The sisters of
the deceased father will reunite with their Queens family early tomorrow
morning – hours before the somber ceremony.

Gillibrand said, “During these difficult moments, it’s important for families
to gather with their loved ones. I am relieved that Lilouttie and Bhagmattie
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.”

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

Gopaul, one of the two sisters traveling from Guyana to New York, said, “The
entire Gopaul 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.”

Saturday, Queens resident Roopnarine Gopaul, 42, and his 5 year-old son
Christopher Gopaul, died after losing control of a jet ski and colliding into a
dock in Lawrence, Long Island.

after the accident, two of Mr. Gopaul’s sisters, Lilouttie and Bhagmattie
Gopaul, unsuccessfully tried to secure an interview with the U.S. Embassy in
Guyana in time for tomorrow’s funeral to be held in Jamaica, Queens. The
interview process is a required step in order to obtain a visa to travel to the
United States. Without an expedited interview, the Guyanese sisters would have
missed the important ceremony.

Gopaul’s third sister, Sandra Singh of Richmond Hill, Queens, reached out to
State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) for help earlier this week who then worked
with Sen. Gillibrand’s office to intervene. The Senator’s office immediately
urged the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana to fast track the interview
process. The Embassy agreed to an appointment with the sisters this morning and
approved their emergency visas.

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